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Missionary to Labrador. (1903-1905) 

A Methodist Missionary 
in Labrador 



Who spent two years in Labrador as a missionary 
of the Methodist Church, Canada. 


For Sale By 

F. C. Stephenson, Secretary, 

The Young People's Forward Movement, 

Methodist Mission Rooms, 


Copyright, Canada and Newfoundland, 1916. 
By Rev. Arminius Young 


In these days of strife and bloodshed it is good to be 
reminded that "peace hath her victories no less re- 
nowned than war," and it is inspiring to find that in 
the quest of the Kingdom of Heaven men show as much 
courage as in the conquest of the earth. 

We are looking about in this strenuous time for some 
moral equivalent of war to be the battleground of 
heroism in the future years. 

This modest volume, presented to us by the Rev. 
Arminius Young, reveals a field of endeavour where 
'heroes are made and cowards are broken. Those who 
succeed endure hardships as good soldiers of Jesus 
Christ. Of the pioneers some still remain with us, such 
as John T. Newman and A. A. Holmes, of the New- 
foundland Conference, and Selby Jefferson, now of the 
Hamilton Conference. 

This book will not only be of great interest on account 
of the information it gives of Labrador and the customs 
of its people, about which most of us know but little, 
but it will also be a spiritual tonic to all who read it. 
May its readers not be few. 

TORONTO, November 21, 1916. 


In sending forth this book to the public, the author 
is conscious of many limitations. He lays no claim to 
literary merit, but as he has gathered his information 
at first hand he hopes that the reader will see in the 
following pages a correct picture of Labrador life and 
of the work which is being carried on there by the 
Methodist Church. This is the first written account of 
the work of our Church in Labrador; this justifies send- 
ing forth the book and its appeal. The author has tried 
to tell the story of his experience on the bleak shore in 
a simple and interesting style. How well he has suc- 
ceeded the reader must judge for himself. 

If this little book gives a better understanding of and 
arouses a deeper interest in the people of Labrador, and 
in the land itself, which no doubt holds some promise 
for the future, the author will be amply rewarded. 

My thanks are due Dr. and Mrs. F. C. Stephenson for 
preparing the manuscript for the press; to the Rev. 
W. T. D. Dunn for reading the first four or five chapters 
in manuscript form and offering valuable suggestions; 
and to the Revs. A. A. Holmes and Ezra Broughton for 
the loan of many of the pictures used in the illustrations. 

I send forth the book with a prayer that it may do 










NEY ON KOMATIK . . . .75 
















(1903-1905) Frontispiece 



LABRADOR (1887-1889) 30 






BOAT, The Glad Tidings .... 










v 1 Q/l 

(1905-1906) . 







S .s 

A Methodist Missionary 
in Labrador 



Labrador is a large peninsula of British North Amer- 
ica, formed by the Atlantic and Hudson's Bay, and 
separated from Newfoundland by the Straits of Belle 
Isle. The interior of this vast peninsula, especially its 
northern section, is practically unknown. It is such a 
bleak and desolate country that even the Indians, be- 
cause of the scarcity of game in recent years, have 
forsaken certain parts of it. Notwithstanding this, 
some attempts have been made in the way of exploration. 

Mr. A. P. Lowe, of the Canadian Geological Survey, 
some years ago, explored the Hamilton or Grand River 
region, which terminates in Lake Michikamau. This 
river, which is one of the largest in Labrador, flows into 
the head waters of Hamilton Inlet. "Its source is 
among the lakes on the interior plateau, from which it 
flows south-east for many miles; then sweeps north-east 
to the end of Hamilton Inlet. The tributaries of the 
lake forming the head waters of the Grand River connect 
B 1 


it directly with Lake Michikamau, the largest lake in 
eastern Labrador." 

In 1903, Leonidas Hubbard and Dillon Wallace, with 
George Elson, an Indian guide, attempted to cross the 
country from Hamilton Inlet to Ungava. Their plan 
was not to go along the Grand River to Lake Michi- 
kamau, as Mr. Lowe had done, but to take the route 
entering at the north side of Hamilton Inlet by Grand 
Lake, and proceed up the Nascaupee River to Lake 
Michikamau, then down the George River to Ungava. 
This route is shorter than the Grand River route, al- 
though it is more rugged and desolate. Owing to the 
absence of game, the Indians have not used this route 
for many years. 

The Nascaupee River flows into Grand Lake seven 
miles below its extreme western end. The party fol- 
lowed the route marked on that part of Mr. Lowe's 
map which was drawn from hearsay and corroborated 
by many of the natives, passed the mouth of the Nas- 
caupee River, and entered the wild by Susan River at 
the extreme end of the lake. This mistake not only 
prevented the explorers from carrying out their purpose, 
but cost Mr. Hubbard, the leader of the party, his life. 
They pressed up the Susan Valley, across portages, and 
over hills, for nearly two hundred miles, until they came 
within sight of Lake Michikamau. Here they were 
wind-bound, and owing to the lateness of the season, 



scarcity of food, and lack of warm clothing, they were 
compelled to return. 

During this retreat they met their great disaster. 
Within thirty-five miles of Grand Lake, Mr. Hubbard 
was obliged to abandon the hope of going farther until 
he had rested and regained strength from fresh supplies 
of food. In order to obtain relief for him his brave 
companions, Wallace and Elson, were compelled to 
leave him with nothing to eat and in a sinking condition. 
Their efforts were futile ; for when the relief party reached 
him Mr. Hubbard had passed to the Great Beyond, 
while Mr. Wallace barely escaped with his life. 

Two years later two exploring parties, one led by 
Mr. Wallace and the other by Mrs. Hubbard, widow of 
the ill-fated explorer, and her guide George Elson, success- 
fully crossed the country by the Nascaupee route to 
Ungava. He and Wallace had profited by the terrible 
experiences of their previous trip. Mrs. Hubbard's 
success was a surprise to those who had any knowledge 
of the country and the difficulties involved. "It was 
perhaps the greatest achievement in exploration ever 
accomplished by a woman." Mrs. Hubbard completed 
the journey from Hamilton Inlet to Ungava in sixty- 
one days, and returned home by the Hudson's Bay 
Company's steamer in October. 

Owing to the fact that Mr. Wallace lost the trail some 
distance from Grand Lake, he did not complete the 



journey in such good time. That he attempted the task 
after suffering so much on his previous trip proved that 
he possessed the heroic spirit of all real explorers. Mr. 
Wallace remained at Ungava until winter set in, then 
travelled south along the coast by komatik and dogs to 
Quebec a long, cold and dreary journey of about two 
thousand miles. 

Labrador has a rugged and desolate coast-line ex- 
tending from the Gulf of St. Lawrence to Hudson's 
Strait, a distance of eleven hundred miles. It is in- 
dented with many safe and beautiful harbors and lined 
with numerous islands which serve as shelter to many 
thousands of fisherrrien during the summer months. It 
is practically cut off from the rest of the world for at 
least seven months in the year. 

A mail steamer, beginning some time in June and con- 
tinuing till the end of October, runs from St. John's to 
Nain. From that time till the following June no news 
from the outer world can be obtained save by a possible 
mail or two overland from Quebec to southern Labrador. 
North of Nain only one regular mail a year is received 
and that is in August, when the Hudson's Bay Com- 
pany's steamer makes her yearly call at Labrador. To 
the natives who have never been accustomed to other 
conditions this may not seem a serious drawback, but to 
the Europeans along the coast the isolation must be 




During the winter months the climate is extremely 
cold. The temperature, especially in northern Labrador, 
often falls to forty degrees below zero, and the severity 
of the cold is intensified by the strong winds from the 
Arctic Ocean. The summers especially in the bays are 
comparatively warm but very short, and the snow- 
capped hills in the beginning of September give warning 
of the approaching winter. Still, on the whole, the 
climate is perhaps as healthy as in any part of the 
world. The crispness of the winter, though piercing, is 
invigorating and stimulating and, for those accustomed 
to it, enjoyable. 

The southern part of Labrador from the Straits of 
Belle Isle to Cape Harrison is sparsely settled by British 
colonists, while the northern section is the proper home 
of the Eskimos who number about fourteen hundred. 
A few who live beyond Ramah, the most northerly 
station of the Moravian Mission, are said to be still 

Various tribes of Indians, the Mountaineers, Nas- 
caupees and others, inhabit the interior. The Eskimos 
always settle along the coast and live almost entirely 
by fishing. They are dark and swarthy with high 
cheek-bones and flat faces. We have been told that 
they belong to the Mongolian race. Formerly they 
lived in snow-houses, dressed in seal-skins and ate only 
raw food consisting of fish, seal and caribou. At the 



present day, north of the Moravian Mission many of 
them live, under almost exactly the same conditions. 
By the faithful work of the Moravian missionaries most 
of the Eskimos have been brought to a state of civiliza- 
tion and have adopted, in part, the European manner 
of living; while among some of them the ancient cus- 
toms of by-gone days still exist. 

The Mountaineer Indians traverse the interior of 
southern Labrador from the St. Lawrence to Hamilton 
Inlet, and live partly on game and partly on such food 
as flour, tea, butter, etc., for which they barter their 
furs at the station of the Hudson's Bay Company. 
The other tribes who inhabit the interior live principally 
on game, for they seldom visit the coast unless driven 
by want. The home of the Nascaupees is in the in- 
terior of northern Labrador but they occasionally visit 
the station of the Hudson's Bay Company at Ungava. 

All the Indians of Labrador are of a roving disposition 
and seem to have no desire for a settled life. They are 
almost continually on the move but are rarely in a hurry. 
They have no ambition to accumulate wealth, but are 
satisfied with making a living. While travelling they are 
always on the look-out for food, and when they come 
upon a herd of deer they kill sufficient to last them about 
a month; then they rest as long as the supply holds out. 
Having exhausted the food they move on, shooting and 
trapping as they go. They naturally believe the interior 



of the country belongs to them and have no kindly feel- 
ings for any who intrude upon their territory. They 
live a wild and free life, and on the whole are a happy 
and contented people. 

Over a hundred years ago Europeans began to settle 
in Hamilton Inlet and Sandwich Bay. They married 
the natives and to-day nearly all the people there are 
half-breeds. From Sandwich Bay to Blance Sablon most 
of the settlers were originally from Newfoundland. The 
river emptying into the latter port is the dividing line 
between Newfoundland territory and the Dominion of 

The chief industry of Labrador is the cod fishery. 
As many as six hundred vessels from Newfoundland, 
employing upwards of thirty thousand men, are engaged 
during the summer months in drawing the inexhaustible 
wealth from its waters. The half-breeds along the 
coast engage in this trade also but those in the bays 
depend chiefly on the fur industry. 



The first attempt to establish a mission in Labrador 
was made by the Moravians in 1765. Attempts had 
been made as early as 1752; but these failed and 
J. E. Ehrhardt, the missionary, was kiljed by the 
natives. Since 1765 this energetic, self-sacrificing 
missionary body has carried on mission work on the 
Labrador, and has succeeded in preaching the gospel 
to most of the Eskimos scattered over that rough and 
extensive shore, and established them in the faith of 
the Christian religion. 

The Moravians have missions now at Makkovic, 
Nain, Okak, Hopedale, Hebron, Zoar and in other 
places. At each station they have a church, school, 
store and mission house. The influence and effect of 
their work has been an untold blessing to the Eskimo 
race of the frozen north. 

The work of the Moravians has been almost exclusively 
confined to northern Labrador; south of Cape Har- 
rison they have rarely done any definite missionary 
work. They formerly made occasional visits to Hamil- 



ton Inlet and Sandwich Bay but established no missions 

The Church of England has for many years been 
doing mission work among the natives north of the 
Moravian stations. Mr. Stewart has given the best 
years of his life to the Eskimos and Indians of Ungava 
and vicinity. This devoted and consecrated Irishman, 
in giving his life to the cause of God in the cold and 
isolation of the far north, has made a great sacrifice, but 
greater still has been the work he has accomplished. 

A literature has grown up in connection with the 
Deep Sea Mission; the pioneer work of the missionaries 
in Labrador is practically unknown to the world. These 
missionaries in their isolation have been content to do 
their work quietly yet faithfully unto the Lord. For 
the most part they have been unnoticed by the world, 
but their work has involved as great a sacrifice, perhaps, 
as any mission work in any part of the world. 

Nearly a hundred and fifty years ago Englishmen 
began to settle in Labrador. England was then engaged 
in war and was passing through a very troublesome 
period. Many of her people sought to escape from the 
ravages of war; a few of these found their way to the 
rugged shores of Labrador. Some of those Englishmen 
were godly men ; they brought with them their Bibles and 
taught their Eskimo wives to read the Word of God, with 
the result that some of them, at least, were converted 



and died happily in the Lord. There is no record, as far 
as I know, of the history of those first English settlers in 

In 1780 the first two white men, William Phippard 
and John Newhook, settled in Hamilton Inlet. This 
information I gleaned from the oldest settlers during the 
winter of 1904. Previous to this, European vessels 
visited the coast in the summer season. The vessel 
which brought these two men sailed about one hundred 
and twenty miles up the inlet, bringing them within fifty 
miles of its extreme end. Here on the south side of the 
inlet, according to their wish, they were put ashore at a 
place, afterwards named English River. Their intention 
was to remain but one year on the coast and to spend 
the winter experimenting in furring, fishing, etc. The 
captain of the vessel promised faithfully to call for 
them the following summer. 

The vessel then returned to England and the two 
men were left alone amidst the bleak desolation of 
Labrador, with none but wild Eskimos for companions. 
They little knew what awaited them. The long, weary 
winter soon set in, and they had to adapt themselves as 
best they could to the unaccustomed conditions on the 
cold, uncivilized coast. How they passed the winter 
can only be conjectured, for their history has never been 
written. Whether they had taken from the vessel 
sufficient food for the winter or depended entirely upon 



the game of the coast is not known. With great skill 
they adapted themselves to their strange surroundings 
and, no doubt, in a large degree to the Eskimo manner 
of living. At the return of the summer, the captain 
failing to call for them, they made up their minds to 
make Labrador their future home. Three years later 
when a vessel from the old land visited them and offered 
to take them home to England they declined the offer, 
as they preferred to remain on the isolated shore. 
Phippard and Newhook had by this time acquired, 
in part, the Eskimo language, had become accustomed 
to their manner of living, had been hardened by the 
frosts of three winters, and for them there was not 
much to lure them back to the old land, hence their 
decision to remain. 

They made up their minds to start life there in true 
Eskimo fashion ; consequently they left English River, 
where apparently they were living alone, and settled 
in Double Mer, a small Eskimo settlement, on the north 
side of the bay. There they made the acquaintance 
of an old Eskimo widow and her daughter, then a 
young woman. Phippard and the older woman de- 
cided to unite their fortunes, while Newhook, being 
the younger of the two, was looked upon with favor by 
the daughter; a double marriage was the result. As 
there was no one on the coast at that time holding a 



license to marry, no doubt Phippard and Newhook 
accepted the Eskimo custom of marriage. 

A complete history of those two first English settlers 
in Labrador would be interesting reading. But it is not 
known and if it were it would be outside the purpose of 
this book to give any more than the barest fragment of 
it. Phippard' s wife, besides the daughter whom New- 
hook married, had two sons by her first husband. 
Several years after their marriage, when the sons had 
grown up and a number of white men had settled 
around the bay, Newhook with the two Eskimo lads 
started on a trip one hundred miles overland to Kene- 
mesh at the head of the bay, where some white 
men had recently settled, to purchase nails for the 
building of a boat. For some unknown reason the two 
lads turned upon Newhook and killed him. Thus it 
was that one of the first two Englishmen who settled 
in Labrador met his death on a hill on the south side 
of Hamilton Inlet, now known as Newhook' s Hill. 

Some time after this William Brooks, a young Eng- 
lishman who had recently come to Labrador, and who 
afterwards became the father of Mrs. Daniel Campbell, 
of whom we shall hear again, called to see Phippard, 
then an old man. He found him sitting in the sun by 
the door-way of his hut, with the Bible in his hand, with 
tears in his eyes, in a very lonely and despondent mood. 
He too soon passed away; but not before he had spread 



an unconscious influence for good, and inculcated, 
though perhaps in a crude form, some principles of the 
Christian religion in the heathen Eskimos. 

I learned from Mrs. Campbell that her father was a 
good singer and was interested in the education of his 
children. He spared no pains in teaching them how to 
sing and read. This might have been the extent of 
their education, for Brooks thought that his half-breed 
children could get along very well on the Labrador 
without the knowledge of writing. The children, 
however, were ambitious and by perusing their father's 
letters, and with what little help they received from 
him, they learned to write. In this way practically 
all the children of middle Labrador learned to read 
and write. Brooks' wife became a Christian, and when 
she died left the grand testimony behind that she was 
going to be with Christ. Thus the light of Christ, 
bringing with it the assurance of eternal glory, was 
dawning upon those dark hearts. 

In common with most pagan people, the Eskimos 
have their tradition of the Flood. The story, as handed 
down to them (we do not know the source), says that 
in the remote past the earth was swept by a great flood. 
This flood came as a result of the anger of the Great 
Spirit against the world on account of its sin. Noah ) 
the only good man in the world, was warned by 
the Great Spirit to build a boat of seal-skin, that he 



might not be destroyed with the others. This he did. 
Then came the rain and flooded the earth, drowning 
everyone but Noah, who floated on the surface of the 
water in his watertight, seal-skin boat. After many 
days the rain ceased and when the water abated Noah's 
boat rested on the hill. The old man, crawling out of 
the boat and walking along where the water lapped the 
shore, saw a seal-skin shoe, in which were a number of 
puppies. He took the shoe, with the contents, and put 
it on the bosom of the deep. For days the wind carried 
the shoe aimlessly about, until finally it drove into the 
very place from which Noah had started it. Here he 
again found it and upon second examination was de- 
lighted to discover that all the puppies had been con- 
verted into men and women. Thus the Eskimos 
accounted for the speedy populating of the world after 
the Flood. 

This is a very crude and even amusing conception, but 
the question naturally arises, where did they get an idea 
of the Flood at all? Perhaps it can only be accounted 
for on a supposition that the Eskimo tribe originally 
belonged to or was surrounded by a religious nation, 
who knew the oracles of God, and in their isolation and 
loss of religious influence and principles managed, 
through the long period of their degeneration, to retain 
a faint idea of some of their ancient traditions. 

Another factor which helped to raise the Eskimos in 
Labrador from their low state of ignorance and sin was 



the influence of the agents of the Hudson's Bay Com- 
pany, who traded with them. I would not endorse all 
the actions of the Company in relation to the Eskimos. 
That they did them full justice in business relations 
may well be doubted. However, I am at present con- 
cerned with their good influence upon the ignorant 

To the credit of the Hudson's Bay Company be it 
said that it was always a law with them that their agents 
on all the posts should conduct services on the Sabbath, 
for the benefit of the natives as well as for their own 
clerks. This the agents did for many years before any 
missionary was stationed on that part of the coast and 
for a long time supplied the only public means of grace 
among these unfortunate people. These agents not only 
conducted religious services on the Lord's Day but bap- 
tized, buried, and married the people. The work, 
doubtless, was inadequately done, but it was the best 
that could be accomplished under the circumstances, 
and it certainly was a step in advance of the conditions 
which existed prior to the establishment of the Hudson's 
Bay Company in Labrador. 

A few years ago Mrs. Daniel Campbell, who has 
recently been called to her heavenly home, gave me the 
history of her first marriage. This marriage gives a 
good insight into the social conditions existing in La- 
brador at that time. She was then only sixteen years of 



age and was living at home with her father. Bill Blake, 
a wild, rough, young man, had set his heart upon Lydia, 
as her name was ; but she did not want Bill for she loved 
another. However, he was determined to have her and 
as she would not consent he planned to force her to marry 
him. He arranged for a komatik party to Rigolet, a 
Hudson's Bay Company's post, fifty miles from Double 
Mer, where he and Lydia were then living. An invitation 
was given to all the people in that place including, of 
course, Lydia and her father; her mother had died some 
years previously. The day appointed for the trip was 
looked forward to with delight by all. No one was 
more jubilant over the affair than the girl herself. This 
was 'her first trip to Rigolet, and it was to her what 
London would be to an English country girl. The day 
dawned fine and clear, cold and crisp, an ideal Labra- 
dor winter's day. All the dogs in the place were har- 
nessed, and soon four komatiks were on their way to 
Rigolet, Lydia riding on her father's komatik. How 
glad she was! 

Arriving at their destination the usual dog fight began. 
The large force of dogs at Rigolet rushed upon the 
strange dogs with vicious onslaught. The men inter- 
fered and the savage fight soon ended, after which 
Lydia was taken to the "big house" and made welcome. 
Everyone seemed kind and nice to her, especially Blake's 
friends. Bill succeeded in making Lydia's father drunk; 
c 17 


for by so doing he could more easily carry out his plan. 
So far his plot had worked well and without the least 
suspicion on Lydia's part. Presently an old lady carrying 
a new dress in her hand came into the room where she 
was and said: 

"Lydia, you must take off that old dress and put on 
this new one, for you have to get married this evening. " 

"Married," she said, "I never thought of getting 
married. Who to?" 

" You have to marry Bill Blake. " 

"I will not; I don't love him." 

"But you must, your father has told him he can have 
you and welcome." 

Lydia insisted she would not have Bill. Her feelings 
were not regarded, and two cruel women began at once 
to remove her old dress. The girl resisted but it was 
all of no avail ; she was powerless in their hands and was 
forced to submit to the inevitable. Blake came in and 
she was compelled to stand beside him, while some 
servant at the station read the marriage ceremony. 

It is unnecessary for our present purpose to follow 
this marriage further, sufficient to say that her life with 
Blake was very unhappy. He did not live long, how- 
ever, and some years later Mrs. Blake married Daniel 
Campbell, a young Scotchman, with whom she lived 
happily for the long period of fifty-four years. 

About this time missionaries from Newfoundland 
began to visit the coast during the summer season. 



Those visits were rare and only a few of the people 
scattered over the large bays could be reached in this way. 
The need of a permanent missionary on the coast was 
greatly felt. The people were hungering for the gospel, 
of which they had received but a small share. They 
were destined to wait long, however, but all things come 
to those who wait, and eventually a missionary came to 




As early as 1820 the Wesley an Missionary Com- 
mittee turned its attention to the inhospitable coast of 
Labrador. About fifty years earlier the Moravians had 
succeeded in establishing a mission on the coast. But 
south of Hopedale to the Straits of Belle Isle "the 
Eskimo roamed in savage wildness." Adam Clarke 
Avard, then stationed at Fredericton, N.B., was the 
young minister requested by the Committee in 1821 
to proceed to southern Labrador to ' ' commence there 
the Society's Mission." 

Avard, however, never saw the stormy coast and rocky 
headlands of Labrador; for ere the time of his removal 
came, his useful life on earth had ended. The respon- 
sible and arduous task of commencing the mission was 
entrusted to the ministers of the Newfoundland Dis- 
trict, who, owing to the pressing calls from various parts 
of the island, deferred the Labrador Mission for three 
years. Then Thomas Hickson, before sailing for 
England, went to the coast for a few weeks. The moral 
condition of the people there was deplorable, and mis- 



sionary work was as much needed among the European 
population as among the "poor, benighted Esquimaux." 

On July llth, 1824, in Hamilton Inlet, Thomas 
Hickson preached to forty Europeans from the text, 
"The kingdom of Heaven is at hand, repent ye and 
believe the gospel." This was the first sermon, as far 
as Hickson could learn, which had ever been preached 
in the bay; he was the first Christian minister who had 
ever set foot upon its unfruitful soil. Twenty Eskimos 
were also present at the time but in the absence of an in- 
terpreter were unable to understand the preacher's 
message. "At another place with the assistance of a 
half-breed interpreter, the wife of a Canadian, he sev- 
eral times addressed a band of Eskimos, and who lis- 
tened with apparent interest." Hickson writing of his 
swarthy congregation said, "They went home and spent 
the Sabbath evening in a much better way than some pro- 
fessing Christians do. " After spending ten weeks on the 
coast, during which time he married a number of persons, 
baptized some adults and their children, and preached to 
large numbers of Newfoundland and American fisher- 
men, Hickson returned to Newfoundland and took 
passage for England. 

The following summer Richard Knight sailed from 
Brigus for Labrador, intending to spend a short time 
preaching the gospel among the fishermen and natives 
and in making investigation concerning the advisa- 



bility of establishing a mission among the Eskimos in 
Hamilton Inlet. After spending a few weeks on the 
coast he "returned to Newfoundland as deeply convinced 
as Thomas Hickson had been that a Labrador mission 
should be immediately undertaken. ' ' 

The man selected for this northern, isolated post was 
George Ellidge. He accepted the mission as a matter 
of duty and with a degree of reluctance sailed for his 
destination. Late in the autumn he returned to St. 
John's in quest of building material for his mission at 
Snook's Cove. In the following year he returned to 
the colony somewhat discouraged. After his year's 
attempt to establish a mission in Labrador he came to 
the conclusion that it was impossible to accomplish the 
task, and opposed any further move in the same direction. 

William Wilson, then at Burin, a man of great courage 
and heroic spirit, volunteered for the mission; the Com- 
mittee accepted his offer and his name "appeared in 
the minutes of 1828, as appointed to the Indian 
Mission, Esquimaux Bay," as Hamilton Inlet was then 
called; for some reason he never went to the coast. In 
the meantime Charles Bate, who went there for a short 
stay, held the same view as Ellidge and the Labrador 
Mission was abandoned. The report of 1829, con- 
tained these words: "The Labrador Mission is for 
the present abandoned, principally in consequence of 
the removal of the Esquimau tribes from the coast into 
the interior of the country and their general dispersion. " 



Little did the Committee think when the Labrador 
Mission was abandoned that fifty-five years would 
elapse ere the post would again be filled, but such was 
the case. It was not till 1884 that the Newfound- 
land Conference appointed a young minister to Hamilton 

Meanwhile many changes had taken place. Numbers 
of white men had settled in the bay and had taken na- 
tive wives. The Eskimos in consequence had largely 
diminished and a half-breed race had grown up. The 
Eskimo dialect had given way to the English language 
the European manner of living as far as it was practi- 
cable in Labrador had been adopted and a more civilized 
condition had been reached. The Eskimo had lost his 
savage wildness and all the people were at least nominally 
Christian. For many years clergymen, both of the An- 
glican and Methodist denominations, visited the coast in 
the summer season. These visits proved a great blessing 
to the people ; and it was unfortunate that during the long 
winter the sound of the preacher's voice was not heard. 
The Methodist Conference of Newfoundland, re- 
cognizing the long-neglected spiritual need on the La- 
brador, resolved in 1884 to establish a mission there 
and asked for a volunteer for Hamilton Inlet. John 
T. Newman, a devoted and consecrated young minister, 
volunteered for the isolated post and for two years he 
labored there with splendid results. During the minis- 



The Pioneer Methodist Missionary to Hamilton 
Inlet, Labrador. 


try of this devoted man mission work there was well 
begun. Many were the converts that he won for his 
Master. The writer twenty years later heard several 
old people give glowing testimonies in gratitude to 
God that the message of salvation had been brought to 
them by Mr. Newman. 

John T. Newman was the pioneer missionary to Ham- 
ilton Inlet, Labrador. He was faithful and conscien- 
tious, and laid the foundation of future work 
on that part of the coast. Indeed his work brought 
him ample reward for all the hardships he endured. 

He was then a young man recently come from Eng- 
land, and the contrast between the old land and the 
cold, friendless, uninviting coast of Labrador must have 
been great. Cast on the desolate shore, with no friend, 
no home, no church, among those swarthy half-breeds 
and Eskimos, to eat their food, live in their log huts, 
sleep on the floors in a seal-skin bag, travel a thousand 
miles by komatik and foot during the cold and stormy 
winter, to receive no word from home from October till 
July, was the prospect which presented itself to this 
devoted missionary as he entered upon his work in 
Labrador and from which he did not shrink. 

But the strain and stress of the work on this arduous 
field and the lack of proper food and a comfortable home 
were almost more than Mr. Newman's constitution 
could endure. So greatly was his system weakened that 



when he returned to Newfoundland his friends thought 
his career on earth must necessarily be short. He soon 
regained his former strength, however, and is still 
an honoured minister in the Newfoundland Con- 
ference. He has filled most of the offices in the 
Conference and once sat in the Presidential chair. 

He was succeeded by a Mr. Stevens, whose health 
began to break down shortly after his arrival on the 
coast, so that he was unable to remain more than a year. 
Though Mr. Stevens could not travel as his predecessor 
had done, he managed, under great inconvenience to 
himself, to get around that vast mission and with his 
cheery words and congenial disposition gave comfort 
and inspiration to those who had been brought to 
Christ during the ministry of Mr. Newman. 

The next man to volunteer for the Labrador Mission 
was Albert A. Holmes, a hardy Newfoundlander. His 
robust nature and strong constitution, as well as his 
missionary spirit, fitted him for such a field and guar- 
anteed success. 

A house at Lester's Point, the former home of a trader, 
was secured for a mission house, and this was made 
the missionary's headquarters. Here Mr. Holmes 
erected a nice little church which supplied a long-felt 
need. He encountered many hardships during his long 
and weary travels over his rough and stormy mission, 
and once barely escaped with his life. 



On this occasion Mr. Holmes and John Groves, a 
half-breed, who has since passed away, were crossing the 
bay from Double Mer to Lester's Point. A few hun- 
dred yards from the shore they came in contact with 
thin ice, which had made the previous night and 
which the tide was carrying down the bay at a rapid 
pace. They tried in vain to work their little boat 
through the ice and reach land. Farther and farther 
they were swept out into the open bay. Two or three 
times they nearly touched land while being swept down 
the long inlet, and once or twice as they passed points 
of land they could all but touch the shore with their 
paddles, but the ice held them tightly bound and their 
hopes were dashed to pieces. 

Finally they found themselves out on the bosom of 
the great Atlantic. Fortunately for them a large island 
stood out in the ocean about seven miles from the main- 
land and fifty miles from their starting point. To reach 
this island was their only hope, but this was by no means 
certain, as a little whirling of the tide might take them 
to one side or the other. They were successful, however, 
and it was with a feeling of great relief that they at last 
reached land. The island was not inhabited and af- 
forded but little shelter from the cold of a Labrador 
winter's night. There stretched between them and 
the mainland a field of thin ice upon which they could 
not walk and through which they could not row; their 
chances of life were small. 



They had with them in their boat their dogs, koma- 
tik, sleeping-bags, and a little food. After hauling up 
their boat and taking a lunch they crawled into their 
sleeping-bags and spent the night as comfortably as 

In the morning to their great delight they saw a nar- 
row lake of open water, which they thought extended 
to the mainland. No time was lost; komatik, dogs, 
harnesses, sleeping-bags, were hurriedly thrown into 
the boat and a dash made for the mainland. But the 
stern nature of the North is not so easily conquered. 
Within a mile of the shore the narrow lake of water 
closed in, the wind changed and they found themselves 
again at the mercy of the ice, wind and tide. They 
drifted on the waters of the broad ocean and no island, 
this time, lay along their path. All day they drifted 
helplessly for twenty -five miles or more. At dusk, 
when the wind abated, they were fifteen miles off 
Cape Porcupine. 

The night was calm and cold and Mr. Holmes, with his 
companion and the dogs, huddled together in the small 
boat and longed for dawn. When the day broke Mr. 
Holmes, putting his feet over the side of the boat to 
try the strength of the ice, said: 

"Praise the Lord, John, we can walk ashore on the 
ice to-day." The ice was not very strong as might be 
expected, being .the product of only one night, and at 



that distance from the headlands it never makes suffi- 
ciently strong to risk one's life upon. The ice thus 
formed does not remain long, as the ocean winds have 
too great a play upon it, and generally that which is 
made during a calm night is smashed to pieces by the 
gales of the next day. Mr. Holmes was well aware of all 
this and, as a precaution, before leaving the boat, tied 
the end of a rope around his waist, while Groves fast- 
ened the other end around his, so that if one fell through 
the ice, the other could easily pull him out. Their out- 
fit had to be abandoned; the dogs, however, attempted 
to follow their heroic masters, but fell through the ice 
and were drowned. As the ice was too weak to walk 
on they had to crawl practically the whole distance. It 
was a terrible experience. 

At 4 p.m., tired, weary and stiff they reached Cape 
Porcupine. When they landed they had only three 
biscuits in their pockets. Almost immediately a gust 
of wind from the north carried all the ice off. How 
providential their escape seemed! In the hospitable 
home of Mr. James Davis they found shelter for the 

The missionary who had this experience is a great 
sufferer from rheumatism to-day, and has been for 
many years. But this experience did not daunt him. 
A new travelling outfit was immediately purchased, a 
fresh team of dogs secured and his arduous work was 



at once resumed. At the end of his two years' term it was 
with a feeling of regret that he took leave of the swarthy 
people of Labrador, many of whom wept tears of sor- 
row, as the missionary took his final departure. He 
won the hearts of the people and his name has been a 
household word with many of those simple but kind- 
hearted half-breeds. 

The next missionary to become acquainted with 
the "grim rocks and giant headlands" of Labrador was 
Jabez Moore, of Carbonear, Newfoundland, now Dr. 
Moore, of North Dakota, U.S.A. Mr. Moore also spent 
a couple of years on the coast, where his labours were 
crowned with spiritual success. He has now been for 
many years a presiding elder of the Methodist Episcopal 
Church in North Dakota, and under his enthusiastic 
leadership many churches have been built, many new 
circuits organized and the moral and spiritual condition 
of the people, over his large diocese, greatly improved. 

He was succeeded by Selby Jefferson, a quiet, con- 
scientious man, who did faithful work during his term 
on the coast. His physique was not exceptionally 
strong, but his spirit was heroic; he forgot himself in 
his ministry to the needy people on the bleak coast of 
Labrador. The church and the world owe much to 
such men. 

Frank S. Hollet, who followed Mr. Jefferson, after 

a year on the coast, married, and his wife became a 


Missionary to Northern Labrador (1887-1889) 


great blessing to the children on the mission. She taught 
several of them at the mission house, two of whom she 
trained for teachers, who afterwards did comparatively 
good work, both in Hamilton Inlet and Sandwich Bay. 

Mr. Hollet was blessed with a kind, sympathetic and 
congenial disposition, and knew the way to the hearts 
of the people. He spent six years on the isolated coast, 
travelling up and down its rugged shore, encountering 
storms and frequently coming in contact with poverty 
and distress. Like his predecessors he had to share the 
fate of the unfortunate people there, during his long 
journeys around the extensive mission. His faithful and 
devoted wife experienced many lonely nights and anx- 
ious days during those long, cold winters when, of 
necessity, her husband would be away from home the 
greater part of his time. 

In 1899, Mr. Hollet returned to Newfoundland 
and was succeeded by John J. Sparks, who gave three 
years of service to the coast. The missionary there 
never sees a fellow missionary and to remain three 
years without ever leaving the coast is, indeed, a 
great sacrifice. This Mr. Sparks did, in spite of his 
frequent temptation to return home. Duty was put 
before personal and private feelings and God blessed 
his work. 

During the summer of 1902, the Conference find- 
ing it difficult to get a volunteer for the Labrador 



Mission from the ranks of the ministry, asked Isaac 
French, who was contemplating entering the ministry, 
but was then a fisherman, to go to that field for the 
year; like Zebedee's sons he left his father's boat, re- 
turned home to Bay Roberts and in October sailed for 
the Labrador Mission. 

While he was sailing for the lonely post the fishing 
schooners in large fleets were sailing home, and among 
them his father's schooner. The scene made the young 
man's heart lonely and the prospect of spending a win- 
ter on the isolated coast was to him almost unbearable. 

He arrived at Lester's Point too late in the season to 
do any travelling by boat, and as the ice on that large 
bay does not afford safe travelling till nearly Christmas, 
Mr. French had to spend his first three months in Labra- 
dor with two solitary families. As hard as the travelling 
might be it was good that the missionaries had so much 
of it to do, for the constant exercise prevented them, 
under such circumstances, from being victims of mel- 

The day after Christmas Mr. French started on his 
winter travels and soon to a great extent forgot his 
loneliness, in a race around the bay on komatik. 
He was very emotional and attracted the people by his 
frequent outbursts of zeal while preaching. He deliv- 
ered his message with manifest earnestness and fervour, 
in those small Labrador houses, to congregations of a 
dozen people. 



On his way to the lumber camps at the head of the 
bay he spent a night at Mrs. Daniel Campbell's home 
and preached there. After the service the old lady put 
her hand on his shoulder, in her quaint, characteristic 
way, and said: 

"My son, don't preach like that in the Nova Scotian 
camps, because they will make fun at you if you do." 

Mr. French was not prepared to slacken his zeal, 
however, and the Nova Scotians received the gospel 
with demonstration of power and that without any 
apology. His stay on the coast was short, as he re- 
turned to Newfoundland the following July. 

Twenty years of missionary toil in Hamilton Inlet had 
resulted in much good being done among the people. 
The missionary laboured under great inconvenience, but 
his efforts were owned and blessed of God. Many who 
had seldom, if ever, heard the gospel preached before, 
had been brought into the conscious assurance of their 
acceptance with Christ. Two sermons a year were bet- 
ter than none, and often those sermons were appre- 
ciated more and accompanied with greater visible 
results than fifty-two sermons preached to a gospel- 
hardened people. Many of the children had been 
taught to read and write, two or three had been trained 
for teachers, and on the whole, the people had been 
much enlightened by the faithful efforts of the conse- 
crated missionary. The world does not know much 
D 33 


about the work of the missionaries in Labrador; these 
servants of God have toiled in silence, but in the day 
of judgment, methinks, they will have conferred upon 
them as great a reward as many whose work is more 
widely known and whose efforts have been applauded 
by every nation under the sun. 




The month of May, 1903, found me working hard at 
my examination papers; I was recommended by the 
June Twillingate District Meeting of that year as a 
candidate for the ministry, and anxiously awaited my 
appointment. When the station sheet appeared, I saw 
with some surprise that I was appointed to the Labrador 
Mission. Heretofore the Conference had always 
asked for a volunteer for that mission, but my appoint- 
ment was made without my permission, and I was 
robbed of the honour of volunteering. I immediately 
began to make preparations for the journey, and on 
July 22nd took passage on board the 5.5. Virginia Lake 
for the Labrador Mission. 

Our first port of call on the coast was Battle Harbour. 
The Deep Sea Mission has a hospital at this place, and 
under the supervision of Dr. Grenfell and his worthy 
staff, hundreds of needy fishermen receive medical treat- 
ment and spiritual advice and comfort. The motto 
of the mission is, "To preach the gospel and^heal the 



sick." All who have any knowledge of the work of the 
mission know that it lives up to its motto. 

From Battle Harbour north all along the coast are 
numerous harbours, which serve as excellent fishing 
stations, and upwards of thirty thousand fishermen fish 
from these harbors during the summer season. The mail 
steamer makes a fortnightly trip from St. John's to 
Nain and calls at practically all of the harbours on the 
Labrador coast. 

When I made the trip the whole coast was enveloped 
in thick fog, and it was interesting to see how Captain 
Parsons piloted the ship in and out of those harbours 
in such a dense fog. He has been doing this now for 
nearly twenty years and has never had a serious mis- 
fortune. These harbours were dotted with small sum- 
mer houses and fishing "stages" while one caught an 
occasional glimpse of a few goats and pigs roaming 
along the shore and over the hills. The settlers for 
the most part were fishermen from Newfoundland, who 
during the fishing season moved with their families, 
live stock and as few personal belongings as possible, for 
the summer's fishing. They always returned home in 
the autumn. 

After a journey of four days from the last port of call 
on the island of Newfoundland we arrived at Rigolet, a 
station of the Hudson's Bay Company in Hamilton 
Inlet, two miles from Lester's Point, our headquarters. 


I found Mr. French, my predecessor, there to meet me. 
With him and Charlie Flowers, his boatman, I went 
across to Lester's Point and was welcomed there, in true 
Labrador fashion, by Charlie's wife, a half-breed. Mr. 
French remained with me two days and then went in 
a small boat to Indian Harbour, to meet the Virginia 
Lake on her way south, and return home. 

The Mission House in contrast with the Labrador 
houses was a large, commodious building and afforded 
ample room for the missionary and the small family 
that occupied the house with him. The scenery here 
is very rugged and uninviting scarcely a foot of fertile 
land can be seen, while on either side of the expanse 
of water stand high, rugged hills, rendered a little 
less sterile in appearance by being clothed with a coat 
of low spruce from their summits down to their feet 
or water-side. 

While only two families were living at the Point, all 
the people who were salmon fishing within a radius of 
twelve miles gathered at the church on Sundays. My 
first Sabbath there will be long remembered. As I 
looked over my swarthy congregation of about seventy 
men, women and children, my heart was drawn out in 
sympathy towards them. Though to a casual observer 
the material upon which I had to work perhaps might 
seem uninviting, I felt that their many needs, especially 
in things spiritual, demanded my best, and that they 



were worthy of a great deal more than I could give 
them. I preached to them from the text: "And when 
the day of Pentecost was fully come they were all with 
one accord in one place." They listened very atten- 

After the morning service, according to the usual cus- 
tom, the whole congregation proceeded to the Mission 
House and boiled sufficient water on the kitchen stove 
for the mid-day meal for the entire congregation. Some 
ate their dinner in the kitchen, while others ate out of 
doors ; none of them being particular about the arrange- 
ments. Owing to the distance they had to go, we could 
have no evening meeting; the day's work closed with 
one afternoon service. Some had come two miles, some 
four, while others had come ten and even twelve miles. 
I wondered, as I saw those half-breeds rowing away in 
their boats, how often would many who live in more 
favoured places get to the House of God if they had to 
go ten or twelve miles to get there! Yet these people 
had to do this and thought it a great privilege to be 
living, for two months in the year, within ten miles of 
a place of worship. 

The following week passed without an event of special 
interest. Life on the Point with only two families was 
very monotonous, and I longed for Sunday to return. 
The second Sabbath dawned bright and clear and the 
water of the bay was beautiful and calm, as if inviting 
the people to the House of God. 



"We'll have a big crowd yer to-day," said Charlie, 
as he came downstairs rubbing his eyes. 

At 10 o'clock I noticed boats coming from all direc- 
tions. From one of them there stepped ashore an old, 
dumpy and interesting-looking lady. I saw, through 
the dining-room window, that as she came along she 
had a word to say to everybody, and everybody had a 
word to say to her. She entered the kitchen with the 
crowd; but soon, however, I heard a knock at my door 
and in walked Mrs. Flowers with this old lady. 

"Mrs. Campbell is come to see you, Mr. Young," 
said Mrs. Flowers. 

"Yes," said Mrs. Campbell, "had to come in and 
see the new minister," and she clasped me by the hand, 
giving me a hearty welcome to Labrador. In about 
ten minutes she poured into my ears more information 
about Labrador and its people than I had received up to 
that time. 

"I must go now," she said, thinking she had given 
me all the information I needed, and putting her hands 
upon my shoulders, said: 

" Now, my son, you must go out into the kitchen and 
talk to the people as the other ministers used to do." 

"Is that so?" I replied. 

"Yes," she said, "if you don't the people won't like 

I followed her into the kitchen and soon had an in- 


troduction to them all, and together we walked to the 
little church. 

The summer was swiftly passing and it was time 
I started on my tour around the mission. I learned 
from Mr. French that the mission extended one 
hundred and twenty-five miles west, about the 
same distance south-east, and fifty miles north; while 
in winter I had an additional tramp of forty miles up 
Grand Lake, the hunting-ground of some of the natives ; 
besides I had to visit the lumber-camps in the interior 
from Mud Lake. This ground could be covered easily 
if one could travel by train or steamer, but when it had 
to be done in a small boat in summer and by komatik 
and foot in winter, the task was not easy. 

Hamilton Inlet is the largest and perhaps the most 
fertile bay in Labrador. Twelve miles inland from 
Rigolet the bay gradually widens until it reaches a 
width of twenty-eight miles and gradually closes in 
again twenty miles from its head, where the inlet ter- 
minates one hundred and twenty-five miles west of 
Rigolet. This region of the bay is of the wildest des- 
cription; high hills rise in all directions, some of which 
are entirely bare of trees. The Mealy Mountains may 
be seen at a distance of fifty miles, stretching them- 
selves out at the head of the bay and running almost 
parallel with the coast. The Grand River, which flows 
into the head of this bay, is the largest in Labrador, 


(a) The Mouth of the Grand River, Noted for its Falls 316 feet High. 

(b) An Indian Encampment at North-West River. 

(c) A Sunset on the Grand River. 


and has some of the grandest, if not the largest, falls in 
the world. From Kenemesh to St. John's Island, a dis- 
tance of eighty miles, unlike the coast outside, there is 
no safe harbour. It is a long, straight shore, unbroken 
by harbours; the hills on both sides of the expanse 
slope down to the water's edge, giving it a rough and 
rugged appearance. 




Travelling facilities on the Labrador are extremely 
poor. For the use of the missionary at Hamilton Inlet 
there had been for a number of years, a small boat; but 
it was entirely unfit for the kind of work which was to 
be done on that stormy mission. Mr. Sparks, recognizing 
the need of a more suitable boat, sold the old one and 
made arrangements for the building of a new one, to be 
completed by the spring of 1903. When I arrived 
at Lester's Point I was informed that a splendid decked 
boat was ready for "action" at Snack Cove. Captain 
McConnel, a Nova Scotian trader, was on his way out 
the bay, and kindly offered me a passage to Snack Cove. 

Before leaving for Snack Cove I went with Charlie 
and his wife to Rigolet to purchase a small boat from 
Mr. Fraser, the Hudson's Bay factor at the post. This 
little boat, which was only nine feet long, was a necessity 
on our trips, so we took her in tow. 

In this small dingey I left for Lester's point, while 
Charlie and his wife went in his own fishing-boat. I 
was not aware of the treacherous tide in the narrows, 



and the half-breeds of Labrador are very shy in ac- 
quainting one with the dangers with which they them- 
selves have always been familiar. I soon found that 
the tide had more control of my boat than I had myself. 
It was blowing a strong breeze directly ahead, but not- 
withstanding this the strength of the tide was carrying 
me against it at a rapid pace. The bay also, as a result 
of the conflicting forces of wind and tide, was very 
rough, and the farther I drove out the bay the rougher 
it became. It was impossible to row against the tide 
and my only hope lay in cutting across it and reaching 
land before it swept me into the rough water of the open 
bay, where at such a time my frail boat would have a 
very small chance of escape. Charlie, who was sailing 
across the bay some distance to the windward of me, 
became alarmed, as he saw me driving helplessly away. 
He came to my assistance by lowering his sail and allow- 
ing his boat to drift towards me, while I did my best to 
pull towards him. After awhile we managed to meet, 
and with great difficulty I succeeded in getting aboard 
his boat and in tying the painter of my boat fast to his. 
The sail was again put up, but in our effort to reach land 
it seemed at times as if the furious sea was going to 
swallow us up. We succeeded, however, in reaching 
the shore, some distance below Lester's Point, without 
mishap. I was now just beginning to learn what mission 
work in Labrador meant. 



The run to Snack Cove was without an event of 
special interest. Captain McConnel was a pleasant and 
congenial man. He was honest and upright in his deal- 
ings with the depressed people of Labrador. They were 
especially fond of him, and his forty years of association 
with them on the desolate coast secured a friendship hard 
to break. His vessel was always the first to wedge her way 
through the ice in the spring, and bring relief to the half- 
starving people along the coast. He was now getting on 
in years and felt that he must give up his business on 
the bleak coast, and I fancied I saw the tears oozing 
from under his eye-lids as he bade farewell to the 
people in the various coves at which he called. 

Arriving at Snack Cove I found the mission boat on 
dock in an unfinished condition. The builder, Charles 
Davis, was engaged at the salmon fishery, and in the 
busy season could not lay aside his fishing and complete 
our boat. There was no alternative, and very reluct;- 
antly we left the boat on the dock and faced the un- 
pleasant prospect of travelling around the mission with- 
out a boat of our own. 

We got passage in a small boat to Cartwright. Mr. 
Swaffield, the Hudson's Bay Company's factor there, 
sympathized with me in very kindly terms, as I related 
the situation to him. But that was all he could do for 
no suitable boat could be procured. There I was amidst 
the isolations of Labrador, anxious to visit the people 



thinly scattered over a coast-line of nearly three hundred 
miles, and no boat to carry me along its needy shore. 
After doing what visiting I could, under the circum- 
stances, I managed to secure a passage in a fishing-boat 
to Pack's Harbour, where we would meet the Virginia 
Lake on her north-bound trip, and take passage for 

The steamer arrived in good time, and as I knew we 
would have a night on board, and felt a little weary 
from the experience of the past few days, I hurried to 
the purser to secure a state-room. 

"I am sorry, sir," he said, "but I can't give you a 
bed to-night for they are all taken up. There is a large 
number of American tourists on board, this trip. The 
only thing we can do for you is to make up a bed on 
the lounge in the smoking-room." 

"All right," I said, and proceeded to the smoking- 
rpom and sat on the lounge for nearly an hour, waiting 
for the purser to bring me a blanket or two, but he forgot 
to bring them. It was a chilly night and I lay on the 
lounge cold and shivering, until finally I dropped off 
to sleep. 

In my sleep my father, who had been dead seventeen 
years, appeared before me. His face shone and glistened 
as gold in the sun. Glory filled the place where he was. 
Not a word was spoken; in silence I beheld the perfect 
sweetness of my father's face, the serenity of his coun- 



tenance and the glory of his surroundings, until my own 
soul seemed to take in the situation and share in the 
glory of my father's abode. It was only a dream, and 
perhaps a hallucination. I only give it as a part of rny 
experience. My father made his decision for Christ at 
the early age of twelve, and lived a Christian till he 
died. Nothing would have given him greater pleasure 
than to see one of his sons enter the Christian ministry; 
it seemed to me that in that dream, in the beginning 
of my ministry, he came to give me his smile and bene- 

After a short stay at Lester's Point no opportunity of 
getting up the bay presented itself, so I resolved to make 
the trip north in a row-boat, which belonged to Charlie. 
On the evening of the first day after a hard row of twenty- 
five miles we landed at a hut, the home of Joseph Lloyd, 
an Englishman, who found his way to Labrador when a 
young man. He was one of the only two Englishmen then 
living in Hamilton Inlet. 

He and his half-breed wife were both sick. Their 
condition was pitiable ; both were well-stricken in years, 
and one was scarcely able to minister to the needs of the 
other. Their son James and his family were living near 
by, the only family within a radius of five miles. 
The old man was very anxious to know how all the world 
was getting on. After tea the two families gathered 
together and we held a short service, which was enjoyed 



by all. But two regular services were held in a year, 
when the missionary made his bi-yearly visits. The 
service being over, the old gentleman and his wife retired 
to bed ; Charlie spread our sleeping-bags on the floor, we 
crawled into them and enjoyed a good night's rest. 

The next day we proceeded to Ratler's Bight. Here 
we met Charles Allen, the other Englishman, a brother- 
in-law of Joseph Lloyd. Allen was the father of a 
large family and the boys being in from fishing, I called 
the family together and we held a mid-day service. 
During the service, Mrs. Allen and her three daughters 
began to cry and sob. I saw that they were in trouble 
about their souls and pointed them to Christ, the Saviour 
of the world, and I believe they all found the peace of 
His forgiving love. The service ended, we went on a 
little farther to Winter's Cove. 

At this little settlement I found three families who had 
not seen a missionary of any denomination for three 
years. They were very ignorant, and had big children 
unbaptized. I tried to throw a ray of spiritual light 
across their dark lives, and bring the Christ nearer 
their hearts, but I did not seem to make much impres- 
sion upon them, and after baptizing two children I bade 
them good-bye, and have never seen them since. 

A few miles farther we arrived at a little cove where 
Charlie's brother and another family lived. This was 
Saturday, August 23rd. We had service at this place 


(a) George's Island from which Mr. Holmes was Rescued. 

(b) God's Acre at Bluff Head, the Common Burying Ground for a Radius 

of Fifty Miles. 

(c) Putting a Coat of Paint on the New Mission Boat, " The Glad Tidings." 


that night, and on Sunday morning a row of two or 
three miles farther brought us to Indian Harbour, 
where I met Dr. Simpson. Here I preached to a large 
number of fishermen in the Deep Sea Mission Chapel. 
In this place Dr. Grenfell has a hospital, which is operat- 
ing during the summer season only, and where every 
year several hundreds of fishermen receive free medical 

Dr. Simpson, who was then in charge of the Indian 
Harbour hospital, is one of those rare Christian-gentle- 
men characterized by self-denial and devotion to the 
needs of others. He was born and educated in London, 
England, the metropolis of the world,. but he left behind 
him all the luxuries of that great city and gave his ser- 
vices to the poor fishermen on the bleak coast of Labrador. 

On Monday, Mr. Jerritt, of Brigus, who was doing 
business at Indian Harbour, went in his small steamer 
to Double Mer. He gave us a passage, and also towed 
our boat. We touched in at Bluff Head, a small settle- 
ment half way to Lester's Point, and found a number of 
people gathered awaiting the burial of John Groves, 
who had died, I believe, of appendicitis, at the latter 
place the day after we left. This is the heroic 
man who had the trying experience with Mr. 
Holmes, related in a previous chapter. Mr. Jerritt 
kindly waited for me to lay the good man to rest, and 
also gave a passage to all the friends of the deceased, 
E 49 


who had gathered from around the bay at this, their 
chosen burying place. 

Shortly after leaving Bluff Head the mother of the 
deceased called me to her side and gave me to under- 
stand that she was in some kind of spiritual trouble. 
My heart had gone out in sympathy for her as she 
and her son Thomas wept together at the grave-side of 
him whom they loved. The mother's heart is the same 
everywhere. She had been, as far as I knew, a Christian 
for many years, but now, bowed down with grief and tot- 
tering on the border of the grave, she felt that God was 
not as near her as she desired. Peace and comfort came 
to her in the cabin of that little steamer as we ran along 
over the ruffled sea. 

By this time we were at the entrance of Double Mer, 
and as we were getting into our little boat to row across 
the bay Mr. Jerritt placed five dollars in my hand, an 
additional kindness, for which I gave him my heartiest 
thanks. Just at dusk we landed at Lester's Point. 



' ' 

The Julia Sheridan (a small steamer given to the 
Deep Sea Mission by a Toronto lady) was engaged that 
year carrying the mail from Indian Harbour to Kene- 
mesh. As she was to pass Lester's Point about Septem- 
ber first, I arranged with Dr. Simpson for a passage up 
the bay. 

Meanwhile another Sunday passed before the steamer 
arrived at the Point on her way to the lumber-mill at 
Kenemesh. The people from all the near-by places 
gathered at the Point as usual, and God gave us a blessed 
time. Four of my swarthy congregation gave their 
hearts to God that day. Our feeble efforts were being 
owned of God and the missionary had cause to rejoice 
amidst his difficulties. 

On September 1st the Julia Sheridan called for 
me, and glad indeed was I with such a splendid oppor- 
tunity to get to the head of the bay. It was not a 
pleasant night and Captain Ash decided to put into St. 
John's Harbour for the night. At 3 o'clock a.m. 
we left again and arrived at Kenemesh at 3 p.m. 



Captain Ash, as soon as he had delivered and received 
his mails, returned again to Indian Harbour. I had not 
taken Charlie with me on this trip, so I was now left 
alone to visit from place to place as best I could, and 
meekly wait till some way opened up for me to return 
to Lester's Point. 

Immediately after arriving at Kenemesh as I stood 
upon the sand-bank of the beautiful River Kennimoo 
I noticed a swarthy but exceptionally tall figure, ap- 
proaching me; the nature of his movements suggested 
that he had something very important to relate. 

"Are you Mr. Young, the minister from Lester's 

"Yes," I replied. 

"Well, I was just going down to Lester's Point to see 
you, but I am glad you have come up. I want to you 
marry me this evening." 

"What is your name?" 

"I am George McLeod, from Nova Scotia." 

George, I learned, was a half-breed Indian from Nova 
Scotia, who had been working for the Dickie Lumber 
Company at Kenemesh the previous year, while the 
woman whom he was marrying was a native half- 
breed of Labrador, then a widow with three children. 

The father of the bride, who disliked George, was not 
in favor of the marriage, and at first strongly opposed it. 
But as she was a middle-aged woman and a widow, and 



taking into account other considerations, we felt under 
existing conditions the proper thing to do was to unite 
them in lawful wedlock. 

After the wedding the bride and groom with their friends 
went across the bay to North- West River, where a char- 
acteristic Labrador wedding repast was enjoyed. The 
missionary, anxious to visit the Hudson's Bay Company's 
post, embraced the opportunity and went with the party. 

Thomas McKenzie, the factor at the post, a kind- 
hearted Scotchman, gave me a real welcome, and made 
me feel at home. North- West River is the prettiest 
spot in Hamilton Inlet. The scenery there is beautiful 
and more so in contrast with the rugged appearance on 
its immediate border, and the uninviting features of 
the grim rocks and giant hills, so conspicuous around 
the bay. 

After tea as was my custom I called the people to- 
gether in one of the company's houses, and gave them a 
short service. The sermon preached was the first they 
had heard since Mr. French had so earnestly expounded 
to them the Word of Life, one cold night in the previous 

The only social amusement the people of Labrador in- 
dulge in is dancing and they are very fond of it. They 
often dance till late in the night, and sometimes till early 
morning. Nobody thought, of course, that the wedding 
would go off without a dance. The groom, who had 



a deep respect for a religious teacher, but who undoubt- 
edly was not acquainted with the doctrines and rules of 
the Methodist Church, immediately after the close of 
the service came to me and said: 

"Mr. Young, will you allow us to have a dance here 

I replied, "The house does not belong to me, and if 
you insist on having a dance I have no power to hinder 
you but I shall not give my consent to it. ' ' 

"Well," said George, "if you object to it we will not 
have it," and there it ended. 

The following day I returned to Kenemesh with the 
party and preached that evening in a small house there, 
in which the natives of the place and a few lumbermen 
had gathered. That night Sandy Calder and his brother, 
owners of one of the lumber concerns at Kenemesh, 
having no spare bed, kindly offered me the couch in 
their dining-room, which I gladly accepted. 

The next day there was no opportunity of getting to 
Lester's Point and no means of visiting any other place 
around the head of the bay ; so I spent most of the day 
strolling along the sand-banks of the river, talking to 
the men, and viewing the beautiful scenery. The head 
of the bay is level and fertile, and the banks of the rivers 
flowing into it are lined with stately timber. 

A more important man than the missionary arrived 
at Kenemesh that day, consequently the couch was 



denied me. I went to the best house among the "liv- 
yers" and sought lodgings for the night. 

"There is plenty of room yer, Mr. Young," he said. 

"I have no sleeping-bag with me." 

" I have one you can use, " he replied. 

I thanked him. 

I was not the only visitor to that home that evening; 
three others, a man and his wife and mother, sought 
lodgings in the same hospitable house. The visitors 
had brought, not seal-skin sleeping-bags, but two bags 
of bed clothing. This is customary in Labrador, for 
they have no spare beds in their houses and all visitors 
are expected to bring their beds with them. The seal- 
skin bag was brought in from the porch and spread on 
the kitchen floor for me. The visitors too were prepar- 
ing for bed, and soon the clothes were emptied on the 
floor and two beds were prepared a foot or two from my 
sleeping-bag. Removing only my coat I crawled into 
the bag and was fast asleep before the others retired, 
and at dawn I was on the stroll again. 

Mr. Calder was sending his little steam-launch to 
Cartwright. She was altogether unsuitable to traverse 
the rough waters of that great bay. The weight of the 
heavy engine brought the gunwales of the afterpart 
of the boat almost flush with the water, while the engine 
itself was untrustworthy, as its valves were continually 
giving out. It was the only opportunity of getting 



down the bay which I was likely to get for many days, so 
very reluctantly I embraced it. When we were leaving 
the mill Mr. Calder said: 

"Young, that boat will be your coffin." 
The first day we had a moderate breeze in our favor 
and we made a good day's run, covering possibly sixty 
miles. The engineer being anxious to get to Cartwright 
as soon as possible, and the weather being fine, he de- 
cided to run all night. The engine so far had given us 
no trouble and we anticipated reaching Rigolet by day- 
light. None of us knew the course; we were running 
by guess, a foolish thing to do. Mr. Calder ought to 
have put some man in the boat who knew the course. 
The engineer belonged to Boston, the other man lived 
at Cartwright, and not one of us had ever been up that 
bay before. It was with great difficulty that we kept 
the little launch clear of the many islands along our 
route. We learned afterwards that only two islands 
lay near the ship's run, and that we must have been in 
the shallow waters of Valley's Bight, where numerous 
little islands were situated. The wonder is we did not 
run upon a sand-bank and swamp our little boat. 

When daylight came we were still upon the bosom of 
the bay ; we had not yet reached the narrows of the inlet, 
where we knew Rigolet lay, and where the narrows 
were we had no idea, save that we imagined they lay 
directly ahead. But we were still in the open expanse 



of water and the distance we had already covered would, 
we believed, have taken us far beyond Rigolet. Besides 
this, the appearance of the land around us was entirely 
unlike that which we had seen on our way up the inlet. 

At this juncture a new and more trying difficulty 
presented itself in the breaking down of the engine, a 
mishap we had been dreading. It was now blowing a 
strong breeze from the north-west and the engine 
giving out every ten minutes, taking the same time to 
repair it, made matters very trying indeed. Fortunately 
the wind was in our favour, and the thought that wewere 
drifting towards Rigolet was, at least to the missionary, 
a source of consolation. But, alas ! if we had only known 
it we were drifting farther away from it. 

In this way we continued till 4 o'clock in the after- 
noon when the bay seemed to be closing in, and we felt 
sure we were getting near the narrows. When we came 
to what we supposed was the entrance tp Rigolet, to our 
surprise there was no entrance there. The engineer 
said to me: "The entrance is on the other side of the 
bay. " So we steamed to the other side, but found solid 
land all the way across as though we were at the head 
of the bay. We were absolutely unable to account for 
this. Could it be possible that we had turned our boat 
around in the night and were now at the head of the 
bay? We had no compass, no chart, no log, nothing 
to tell us what to do or what had been done. It was 



a very blind affair. We found no livyers here, and for 
that reason thought it could not be the head of the bay. 

We were in a rather unfortunate position; our small 
supply of coal was getting short, our rations were almost 
exhausted, and we were utterly unable to locate our 
position. The only thing we could do was to retrace 
our course, and try to find the entrance to Rigolet; this 
we did. It was slow progress with a strong wind ahead, 
and the time occupied repairing the engine was almost 
equal to the time under steam. For two hours we 
proceeded in this way, steaming forwards two miles 
and driving back one, when to our delight, looking up 
the bay, we saw a boat bearing down upon us. We 
would now have the consolation, at least, of knowing 
where we were. 

As the boat came alongside the engineer said : 

"Hello, men, can you tell us where we are?" They 
lowered their sail and hauled in alongside. 

"What place is this?" we asked eagerly. 

"This is Back Bay," they replied, "and we are 
moving down yer for the winter." 

"How far is it to Rigolet?" 

"About forty miles, sir." 

We had gone down an arm, the entrance of which is 
twelve miles above Rigolet, and runs down twenty 
miles beyond it. One of the men, being very inquisitive 
as to our purpose in coming in this arm, said to me : 

"What ded ya come down yer fer?" 



I felt rather ashamed of our mistake and put him off 
without giving him any satisfaction, whereupon he 
turned to the engineer with a look of real earnestness 
in his eyes and repeated his question. 

"Oh," said the engineer, "we are taking this thing 
down to Car tw right. " 

"But," he said more vigorously than ever, "what ded 
ya come down yer fer?" 

When we realized the situation we did not wonder at 
the remark of our friend, for to go to Cartwright, in 
the direction we had taken, meant a steam of twelve 
miles through solid land. 

As the sun went down, kissing the tree tops as it de- 
parted, the wind gradually moderated, and by the time 
the sun had hid behind the hills the waters of the bay 
were beautifully calm. The men had pointed out to us 
the direction to Rigolet but the engine had become almost 
useless, and on their return trip they found us at 10 
o'clock p.m. lying in the calm and towed us to the shore. 

We boiled the kettle, had some tea, and about mid- 
night lay down in the launch and tried to get a little 
sleep. But the night was very chilly, and being without 
bed-clothes, sleep was almost impossible. 

It took the engineer two hours the next morning to 
get the engine in working order and it was not till 8 
o'clock that we were ready for a start. We hoped, 
however, that after thorough overhauling the engine 


would serve us better than it did the previous day, but 
in this we were disappointed. 

There is a tremendous tide in the narrows, and as 
we were crossing a large bight in the direction of an is- 
land that lies close to the entrance we got caught in 
this tide which ran in all directions like furious beasts, 
and focussed in one place, causing a mighty whirlpool. 
Almost in less time than it takes to write it our little 
boat was carried into this whirlpool, and held helpless 
in its grip. I was at the wheel at the time and managed 
to keep the boat stern to the seas. One sea broke over 
her stern and I thought we were done; if now the engine 
gave out she would turn broadside and all would soon 
be over. I was just in the act of turning to speak to 
the men and to enquire about their souls, which I 
thought would be my last duty upon earth, when I 
saw to my delight that we were on the edge of this vor- 
tex of water. In a minute more we were drifted out of 
it altogether, and soon reached the island in safety. 

Our coal was now exhausted, so we landed and 
gathered some wood to make a dash for Rigo- 
let, which was about four miles distant. Just 
after we started again and turned a point of the 
island we saw a hut on the bank yonder; smoke was 
rising from the chimney a sure sign of life within. 
The engineer decided to land again and make inquiries 
about the tide, the distance to Rigolet, etc. 



We knocked at the door of the hut and a rough-looking 
Eskimo of seventy years of age appeared. 

"How far is it to Rigolet?" 

"Three miles." 

"And is the tide running in or out?" 

"Good, but if you 'old on a little longer it 'ill be 

I informed the old man that I was the missionary from 
Lester's Point. He was very anxious for me to come in, 
and as the engineer decided to get a lunch before making 
the final start for Rigolet I thought I could spend the 
few minutes in no better way than in chatting with the 
old man and his family, so I went in. 

The hut was dark, dirty and dismal. There was no 
table, no chair, no bed or furniture of any kind save an 
oil-can, which served for a stove, and a small box on 
which I sat. The mother and daughter were sitting 
on the floor working at some fancy work of which all 
the Eskimos are very fond. 

I found that only the old man could speak English, 
nevertheless I read a few verses of scripture and prayed 
with the family, then wished them " good-bye" and walk- 
ed over the hill to the beach where I expected to join 
the men at lunch. But instead, I saw that our launch 
was aground and the disappointed men were exerting 
all their strength in trying to get her off the rocks. 
When they were preparing lunch, unconsciously to 



them, the tide was falling and by the time I appeared 
the boat was hard aground, with the propeller nicely 
fitted inside a large rock, over which we had to throw 
her in order to float her again. 

I ran to their assistance. The old Eskimo came also, 
bringing an axe with him; we cut a stick which we put 
under the keel of the boat and hove for all our might. 
For twenty minutes we worked at her, lifting beyond 
our ordinary strength. We did not view with pleasure 
the prospect of spending another night on the rocks, so 
after trying and trying again we made one supreme 
effort and over the rock our boat went and to our delight 
was afloat again. 

The tide was in our favour and in a few minutes we 
hoped to reach Rigolet. The fire was going low and the 
steam was going off the boiler fast. 

"Get the axe," said the engineer to his helper, "and 
cut off some wood quick." 

The axe could not be found; in the rush it had been 
left ashore. There we were, all our coal gone, with wood 
aboard, but all too long for use, drifting along by Rigolet 
at a speed of six miles an hour, unable to get steam 
enough to reach it, now that it was in sight. Indeed we 
were in danger of drifting to sea, unless someone came 
to our rescue. It seemed to me that a struggle was 
going on somewhere to bring about the literal fulfil- 
ment of the prophecy of Sandy Calder: "Young, that 



launch will be your coffin." The engineer as the last 
extremity broke up with his feet the small box in which 
we had our food. This fortunately gave us steam 
enough to get us sufficiently near to the land, a mile 
below Rigolet, to take the up-eddy along the shore, and 
in a few minutes we were safely landed at the post, glad 
indeed that we had escaped with our lives. 

The engineer decided to abandon the steam-launch at 
Rigolet and proceed to Cartwright in a small row-boat. 
The men spent the night with me at Lester's Point, and 
left for Cartwright the next morning. Thus ended my 
first trip up Hamilton Inlet. 




When the stormy month of October sets in, travelling 
by boat is unwise and unsafe, and as the ice on the bays 
is seldom safe till the middle of December, the mis- 
sionary of necessity gets a rest from hard travelling, 
at least three months in the year. 

Previous to my time in Labrador the missionary spent 
his autumn and spring, when travelling was impossible, 
at headquarters, Lester's Point. The existing condi- 
tions at the Point that year made it almost impossible 
for me to follow the old plan; and besides I preferred 
to spend the autumn where the most people were. The 
families at the Point and most of the people in the 
adjacent places in the bay were removing, some to the 
lumber-mill and others to their winter hunting-grounds. 
So I resolved to close up the Mission House for the 
winter and spend the autumn at Paradise, Sandwich 

Charlie and his family left for Mud Lake on Oc- 
tober 1st, and I spent that night in the Mission House 
alone. The next day I crossed the bay to Rigolet, 

F 65 


where in a few days I was to take passage on the Julia 
Sheridan for Cartwright. 

That night, long after dark, I noticed a small row- 
boat manned by two men and two women, coming 
alongside the wharf. One of the men as he crawled up 
over the wharf said: "Mr. Young, will you marry us?" 

"Oh, yes," I said, "how many of you are getting 

"We be all geten married, sir." 

I went to Mr. Fraser, the factor, and asked for a 
place in which to perform the marriage ceremony. 

"All right," he said, "join them together down there 
in the cook-house." 

It was an interesting sight to Mr. Calder and other 
Nova Scotians who were present, to see those two 
Labrador couples with their everyday clothes on gather 
in the old-fashioned Hudson's Bay Company's cook- 
house, to take upon them the solemn marriage vows. 
The following day the happy couples proceeded up the 
bay to the lumber mill. 

One of the brides was Charlie Allen's daughter, whose 
name has already been mentioned and to whom we 
shall again refer. Charlie was rather eccentric, and 
positively refused to let his daughter go with her 
affianced the fifty miles to Lester's Point, without being 
married. So he called in John Williams, an old man 
who lived near by, who could read a little, and got him to 



read something (I know not what) over his daughter 
and her future husband, "just to do them until they 
got to Rigolet where they could be married by the 
minister." One of the natives at Rigolet speaking to 
me of this temporary marriage, said: "I s'pose, sir, 
Mr. Williams jest put 'em together enough so as to do 
till they seen you." 

On October 6th I started for Paradise. Captain 
Ash was then taking the Julia Sheridan to St. John's. 
In the evening the water became very rough and the 
captain thought it wise to take shelter, and ran into 
Pack's Harbour for the night. The steamer went up 
Sandwich Bay as far as Dove Brook, where Mr. Calder 
had a mill. This place is only fifteen miles from Para- 
dise, and from there I went in a small boat, arriving at 
9 o'clock at night. 

The man who accompanied me there took me to the 
home of Robert Mesher, then an old man seventy- 
seven years of age. Mrs. Mesher, noticing my over- 
coat and thinking I must be a man of special import- 
ance, said with astonishment: 

"And who is this you have brought with you, Charlie 

"This is the new min'ster, ma'am," he replied, where- 
upon she grasped me with both hands, and after hold- 
ing my hand for some time she almost dragged me to 
the table, where the old gentleman was sitting wonder- 



ing what strange man had come to his home; he was 
very hard of hearing, and up to this time did not know 
what was being said. 

"This is the new min'ster, Robert," she said, and 
she began literally to jump about the room, exclaiming: 
" I am so glad, we'll have, prayers now all the time. Oh, 
I am so glad." 

A more hearty welcome I could not possibly have 
received than was given me by the people of Paradise. 
Quite a number of the neighbours gathered at Mr. 
Mesher's that night, late as it was, to see "the new 
min'ster." It was late in the night when they left, 
still Mrs. Mesher's tongue was going, and the excite- 
ment prevented any sleep from coming into her eyes. 
I was rather weary from the journey and felt more like 
sleeping than chatting all night, and wished that she 
would suggest that I go to bed. Of course I did not 
know whether there was a bed for me, or whether I 
would have to sleep in my sleeping-bag on the kitchen 
floor, during my three months' stay there. 

Finally the old gentleman, thinking it was time we retired, 
looked up at the old lady and said in his rough way : "I 
think it's time to steer for Blanket Bay and to 'ave too 
under Cape Rug." I was given a large feather bed and 
a bedroom all to myself, a luxury Labrador seldom is 
able to give to a traveller, no matter who he may be. 

Paradise, in comparison with most places on the 
Labrador, as its name suggests, is an ideal spot. It is 


fa) Rev. A. A. Holmes, Missionary, in Sleeping-bag, Ready for the 
(b) Next Morning. 



a beautiful little harbour, situated at the head of Sand- 
wich Bay. It is lined with a coat of small spruce, and 
one of the largest rivers flowing into the bay runs into 
it. This formerly teemed with trout and salmon. The 
shores of the harbour are dotted with a dozen small 
houses, and a school-building, in which school is taught 
occasionally, and in which service is held. They now also 
have a nice little church there. 

The people are natives of Labrador and mostly half- 
breeds. They are kind-hearted, full of simple generos- 
ity, are very religious, and possess a better knowledge 
of the outer world than their neighbours in Hamil- 
ton Inlet. I soon began to feel at home among this 
simple, kind-hearted and religious people and Paradise 
was to me, during my two years on the coast, a place 
of repose. 

Robert and his good wife did their best to make the 
missionary comfortable. Their simple, free and un- 
affected kindness will never be forgotten. Mrs. 
Mesher was led to Christ by Mr. Newman, and 
I often heard her thank God for the faithful 
work of that devoted man who led her into the light of 
salvation. Robert, like most of the Eskimos and half- 
breeds of Labrador, was very fond of singing, and took 
great delight in leading the singing in our little school- 
house. He was seventy-seven years of age yet his 
voice was still strong, clear and musical. 



Formerly it was the custom for the Eskimo mother 
to carry her infant child all day long in a hood on her 
back. She cooked, washed, attended her rabbit snares, 
cut wood and did everything else she had to do with 
the child on her back. 

There is a story told of an old woman of this settle- 
ment, who had a very narrow escape in this connection 
when a child. Her father, when she was an infant, was 
suffering from mental aberration, which made him a 
dangerous person. There were no doctors in Labrador 
in those days, and as for the asylum, the proper place 
for the man, they did not know that such a place ex- 
isted and if they did it would not have helped them 
much. Several times he had acted violently and would 
have done something serious had he not been prevented 
by those watching him. 

One morning when his wife with the child on her 
back left the house to attend her rabbit snares, about 
half a mile distant, he took his gun and followed her. 
He watched her very closely and just as she was stoop- 
ing to take a rabbit out of the snare, he fired a load of 
powder and shot, which blew the mother's head to 
pieces; the infant upon her shoulders escaped unhurt. 

During my three months' stay in Paradise a dozen 
young people were brought to Christ; that was at least 
half the youth of the place. The believers were 
strengthened and revived and all were delighted and 



profited by the almost three months' continuous ser- 
vices. This was the first time in all their lives they 
had enjoyed such privileges, and many of them were 
beyond the seventieth year mark. 

One Sunday morning a young married woman was so 
affected by the sermon, that she knelt down in the snow on 
her way home from service and prayed most pathetic- 
ally to God for pardon. The temperature was about 
zero, but it was useless to advise her, to go home and 
pray or to return to the church, so the missionary, too, 
knelt in the snow and prayed. That woman was a 
pitiable sight pleading so earnestly for deliverance 
from the burden of sin while exposed to the inclemency 
of a Labrador's winter day. There was a lack of faith 
and it was several months before she fully realized the 
touch of God's loving hand. But God will surely 
reward such earnestness, and at last it came to her in a 
clear consciousness of her acceptance with Christ. 
Reader, are you in possession of that blessing? If not, 
it would be well for you to take a leaf from the experi- 
ence of this poor Labrador woman. 

It was here that I first met the Mountaineer Indians. 
Every year they travel across southern Labrador, from 
the St. Lawrence to Sandwich Bay or Hamilton Inlet. 
They leave the St. Lawrence early in the autumn and 
travel slowly, completing the journey a few days before 
Christmas. A week before Christmas a gang of five 



families camped four miles from Paradise and came out 
to trade. They were an interesting-looking crowd with 
their long, dark hair, dark faces and extremely hungry 
appearance, and especially the women with their long 
pipes in their mouths. 

I visited their camp. They had five small calico tents 
put together in one large tent, in which the gang of five 
families lived. Bach family occupied its own part of 
the tent. Of course even the most ordinary furniture 
is out of the question among Indians; they have no 
use for such incumbrances. The floor of the tent con- 
sisted of a carpet of spruce boughs, upon which they all 
sat, turning their feet in under them. We chatted with 
the men the women could not talk English and 
prayed with them. Then one of the Indians sang a 
hymn in the Mountaineer language. They were very 
reverent and seemed to appreciate my visit. They 
were Roman Catholics and their spiritual requirements 
are seen to by the priests, during the summer when the 
Indians live on the St. Lawrence coast. 

Christmas in Labrador does not bring with it the 
same cheer and happiness that it does in more favoured 
lands. The children do not receive the same considera- 
tion and attention. Santa Claus, it is true, sometimes 
makes his appearance, but it is only a scanty supply that 
he can gather from the ice-bound coast and snow-capped 
hills of Labrador. Most of the children do not even 



get a card to cheer their hearts and remind them of the 
meaning of the day. 

The 28th of December was the day I had appointed 
to start on my long komatik journey around the mission. 
The feeling expressed by the people in our last service 
showed how much they regretted losing their preacher. 
It was expected then that nine months would elapse 
before they would have the privilege of hearing another 
sermon, and they felt it keenly. 

The missionary, too, felt the parting. The people 
had come to him with all their troubles, and he had entered 
into their feelings. He was leaving behind a very kind- 
hearted and affectionate people and a dozen young 
converts without a shepherd. 

On the morning of my departure a number of people 
gathered at the home of Mr. Robert Mesher to wish 
the missionary "good-bye" and to extend to him their 
best wishes. As I bade them farewell the affectionate 
people wept like a mother when parting with her only 
son. Thus we parted, with tears trickling down their 
faces and with a feeling of real loneliness in my own 

We shall hear of Paradise again. 




The first day we went to Dove Brook. That was my 
first ride on komatik, and I should have enjoyed it 
much better had it not been for the painful effect of the 
morning's parting which followed me all day. At Dove 
Brook I met Charlie, my guide, who had come from 
Mud Lake after me. From him I learned for the first 
time the sad news that Leonidas Hubbard had died of 
starvation in October thirty-three miles from the head 
of Grand Lake, and that Dillon Wallace had barely 
escaped with his life. We were all very sorry for we 
had hoped that the expedition would have met with a 
more pleasant ending. 

I was taken to the home of a Mr. Scott, a Canadian, 
who had spent five years in the employ of the Hudson's 
Bay Company on the coast and who at this time was 
running a business of his own at Dove Brook. We 
had a little service at his house that night. Mrs. 
Scott played the organ and the music was a real treat 

I went to Cartwright and south to Sand Hill, preach- 
ing in practically every place where there was a Meth- 



odist family. At Cartwright there was a Church of 
England school teacher, who held services on Sundays, 
while all the Church of England people between Cart- 
wright and Battle Harbour were visited by the Anglican 
clergyman stationed at the latter place. 

At Goose Cove when I. was preaching, one of our dogs 
cut off his trace and made his escape. We had a very 
small team at the start only six now we were reduced 
to five. A first-class team would be eiglit or ten good 
dogs. In consequence of our poor team we had to 
walk a great deal, especially when the going was bad. 
This necessitated a slow journey; for a good team of 
dogs can get over the ice quite quickly. 

Charlie was continually talking about our poor team 
of dogs. Sometimes after I had retired to my sleeping- 
bag I could overhear his conversation about the dogs. 
He was speaking to the host and it ran like this: "Ah, 
b'y, if I only had the team I had las' yer I git 'long 
all right; way 'tis our team no good. I had to lave 
Daisy at 'ome, and Tom no good parkapines got 'old 
him las yer and spiled him. Two young uns can't do 
'ardly anyt'ing, only broke in few days 'fore I left." 

My travelling outfit, in addition to my ordinary 
clothes, consisted of a pair of seal-skin pants, a sweater, 
an adikey, a pair of seal-skin mittens, a pair of moccasins, 
and a storm-hood. Of course we always took a sleep- 
ing-bag, which was made of seal-skin also and lined 



with thick blanketing. The hole in the end of it was 
just big enough for a man to crawl through and on each 
side of it was a flap which could be buttoned over after 
you got in. This is essential; for some of the houses 
are very cold when the fire goes out at night. Even the 
coldest frost of the Arctic regions cannot pierce through 
a good sleeping-bag, and you can kick and turn over as 
often as you wish without the danger of removing the 
clothes or falling out of bed. Without the sleeping-bag 
it would be impossible to travel in winter in Labrador, 
because the people are too poor to supply you with 
bedding. Most of them have not sufficient for them- 
selves, and I often wondered why some of them did 
not freeze to death during the cold winter nights. A 
good sleeping-bag costs about twenty dollars, and with 
care will last many years. 

Travelling on komatik, being a new experience to me, 
was rather interesting. In the morning there would be 
some difficulty in getting all the dogs harnessed and 
fastened to the komatik. They were always eager to 
be of! and often would drag the trace out of my hand 
before I had time to fasten it to the komatik. As soon 
as we were ready for a start, Charlie gave the command 
"ooisht" and instantly they were off at a gallop. The 
going was good and though our team was poor the dogs 
took us over the ice and across portages at a rapid pace. 
We were now in the depth of winter and the keen, 



piercing frost was stimulating and invigorating, and 
travelling was really enjoyable. All the people looked 
forward to this visit by the missionary with keen anti- 
cipation, and in every humble home I got a hearty 
welcome. They were all very poor and could offer the 
missionary but a very meagre meal, but such as they 
had they gave willingly. Some of the people were very 
badly off. 

On the 14th January we reached Valley's Bight, 
having covered nearly two hundred miles since leaving 
Paradise, on the 28th December. Of course we might 
have covered twice that distance in that time, but I was 
the missionary and had to spend a night at practically 
every place, as all expected a service from me. One could 
not have the heart to pass them by, for a year would 
elapse before he could visit them again. I was the only 
missionary in Hamilton Inlet, a great fiord nearly two 
hundred miles deep, and the people were scattered all 
along its shore. The number of families living in one 
place varied from one to three, but seldom exceeded 
that number. 

I think most preachers would find it more difficult to 
preach to a family or two than to a large congregation, 
and there is always the temptation to reserve the best 
for the larger congregation. I felt that temptation: 
but how could I yield to it with the example of Jesus 
before me? Did He not say some of His best and sub- 



limest things to a solitary individual? To Nicodemus 
He expounded the unfathomable mysteries of the New 
Birth, and to the woman of Samaria the eternal value 
of the living water, of which He was the only Source. 
I had something good to tell, to be sure, for the Gospel 
of Christ is man's most precious possession which he 
has inherited from the divine-human Christ, but I 
could not tell it half well enough for the poorest and 
most ignorant half-breed of Labrador, who drank in 
every word as it fell from my lips. 

It was, to put it mildly, rather discouraging to see the 
majority of the people, to whom I was sent to preach 
the Word of Life, but once or twice a year. While at 
Valley's Bight, where we were detained several days by 
a heavy snowstorm, I had leisure to think upon these 
things. What is the use of two sermons a year any- 
way, if you cannot get more than that? Why spend 
the money and why shut a man up amidst the bleak 
isolations of Labrador when you can give the people 
there only such a meagre service? What benefit do the 
people receive, after all, from one or two flying visits 
from a missionary while all the rest of the year they are 
without spiritual help? 

But a casual study of conditions would convince 
anyone of the bereft t of those flying visits from the ser- 
vant of God. This was their one and only outward 
link that united them to the Church of God. It showed 



these poor, unfortunate people that they were not for- 
gotten by the church, whose Founder came to preach 
the gospel to the poor. Ay, and many of those half- 
breeds who heard but one or two sermons a year were 
living lives that, from a moral and religious point of 
view, would put to shame many who live within a 
stone's cast of a church. Swearing is almost unknown 
among them. Those who do swear have learned to do 
so, either from the Newfoundlanders on the coast, or 
from the Nova Scotians at the lumber-mills. Many of 
our young men become notable swearers as a result of 
the baneful influence of those who should have taught 
them better things. 

The poverty of the people, of which we saw much 
as we went along over our mission, was always 
a source of pain to the missionary. At Flat 
Water, when we passed, a mother with an infant on her 
breast had nothing to eat excepting bread without 
butter, and tea without sugar or molasses. In other 
words, as the people of Labrador say, "She had nothing 
to eat but dry bread and raw tea." 

This was early in January and the only possible 
chance of getting anything better till July lay in the 
hope that her husband might catch an otter or silver 
fox, which hope she clung to with brave optimism. 
Such furs could be bartered at Rigolet for food and 
clothing, but the possibility of such a catch in that local- 



ity was small. Whose heart would not be touched in 
seeing a fond mother, with her infant child, nibbling 
away at a bit of dry crust, without even the luxury 
of butter or salt meat? Was it any wonder she looked 
poor, thin and haggard? I fancy I can see that poor 
woman now, with her haggard face and pitiable 
expression. I know there are many even now living 
under the same conditions in Labrador, where the diet 
is extremely poor at its best. Such commodities as 
vegetables and fruit are practically unknown to the 

We arrived at Valley's Bight in a snowstorm which 
continued four days. This made the going bad 
and there was no hope of getting the slightest lift on 
the komatik; our team was scarcely able to haul our 

Bill Shephard, as he is called, is the only livyer in 
this place, and a comical fellow is Bill. In his younger 
days, like most of the Labrador people, he was fond of 
the dance. He was not able to read, but someone had 
told him the Bible says there is a time for all things 
and there is a time to dance. 

He said to me: "Do you believe that's the kind of 
dancing we have on the Labrador that the Bible spakes 

"No," I replied, "I don't believe anything of the 
kind." He replied very vigorously and excitedly, "Well, 
den, I do." 

G 81 


It was of no use, of course, to try to convince him 

On the 18th we left Bill Shephard's, the nearest 
family being twenty miles distant. The wind was 
blowing a gale in our faces, the temperature was nearly 
forty below zero, and the snow was deep and heavy. 
The dogs soon became fatigued, so our progress was 
slow. We had travelled only a couple of miles when 
Charlie remarked: 

"Mr. Young, you are froze." 


"Your neck is froze." 

Putting my hand to my neck I found it was hard and 
stiff. Charlie, by the application of snow, soon brought 
the frost out. I put my stormhood over my head, and 
that was the first and last time I was bitten with the 
frost while I was in Labrador. 

It was evident that we were in for a hard day's travel. 
The frost was sharp and keen, the atmosphere was 
crisp; the Mealy Mountains stretched before us like 
giants in the air, while everything around us was held 
in the grip of winter's icy hand. Before us, as far as the 
eye could see, was a carpet of fleecy white, while looking 
down upon us were the stern, adamantine hills that wall 
the north side of the inlet. 

I had neglected to provide myself with a pair of snow- 
shoes suitable for this country. The pair I had taken 



with me from Newfoundland were wrongly shaped and 
altogether too small for the deep snow around the 
Hamilton Fiord. The straps were made of hard seal- 
skin, instead of the soft deer-skin such as is used in 
Labrador. The biting frost that day froze those seal- 
skin straps around my feet like bars of iron and made 
travelling painful. As the sun was setting behind the 
hills I saw a house peeping through the trees from a low 
strip of land, a mile distant. A half -hour later we were 
shaking hands with Mrs. Robert Baikie and her sister 
at the Lowland. My feet were chafed a little and we 
were somewhat tired after the hard day's travel; soon 
we forgot the experience of the day as we sat by the 
warm fire in that little log hut nestled among the trees. 

Those two women, with five small children, were liv- 
ing alone; their nearest neighbours were the Shephard 
family at Valley's Bight, which we had left in the morn- 
ing. Mr. Baikie was gone to the head of Grand Lake 
to attend his fur traps, and would be away for a month 
or more. I said to Mrs. Baikie: 

"Are you not lonely here with your husband away, 
and no family nearer than twenty miles?" 

"No, sir," she answered, "I am never lonely." 

Before retiring we held a short service which the 
family enjoyed very much. 

The silence of the north, if I may use that expression, 
can almost be felt, and the people, accustomed as they 



are to living alone, have lost to a large degree that social 
instinct so prominent in larger centres. It is a native's 
delight to settle down in a cosy place among the trees 
several miles from any other family. No doubt, tem- 
poral necessities have helped to establish this custom. 
Living thus gives each man a large portion of hunting- 
ground, and enables him to obtain a livelihood more 
easily than if all clustered in little villages. If they 
congregated they would, of necessity, have to pene- 
trate deeper into the interior in search for furs, which 
would mean harder work and not as good returns. 

Bach man, according to the custom of the coast, owns 
that patch of land stretching on either side of his log- 
hut, and extending to his neighbour's boundary line, a 
distance of ten, twenty and even forty miles. Over all 
this stretch of land traps are set to catch any fur-bear- 
ing animals that may be there. 

But while there is this advantage there are many dis- 
advantages resulting from this manner of living. The 
social faculty has little opportunity for development: 
it affords practically no possibility for any but the most 
meagre education, while a definite course of spiritual 
training could not be attempted. 

As I crawled out of my sleeping-bag the next morn- 
ing and peeped through the corner of the ice-cased win- 
dow, I saw by the hard and frosty appearance of the 
sky that we were going to have another bitterly cold day. 




"'Tis too cold for you to travel this mornin', Mr. 
Young," said Mrs. Baikie, as she saw me getting ready 
to start. When I opened the door of the hut and went 
out I never felt anything so keen as that morning air. 
The poor dogs were lying in a double on the icy snow 
with their noses between their hind legs. 

"Charlie, give these poor, perishing hounds some- 
thing to eat before we start on our hard day's travel." 

"Dat wouldn't do, sir. If you feed 'em you git no 
good of r em. All they need, sir, is one male a day in 
the evenin'." 

I found afterwards that Charlie was right. These 
wolf-dogs are useless all day if they get a morning meal. 
One meal a day in the evening is sufficient for an Eskimo 
dog. Given good going they will run the whole day 
with their tongues out about three inches, without a 
bite to eat. At first I thought that was cruel, but it is 
the only way one can get any work out of a Labrador 

We started off and the going was so bad that I had 
to make a trail for the dogs, while Charlie helped them 
to get the komatik along. 

"How far is it, Charlie, to Pearl River, where the 
Chaulk families live?" I asked. 

"Twenty- two miles, sir." 

"And is there no one living nearer than that?" 

"No, sir." 



"No tilt or anything in which we could take shelter 
in case of storm?" 

"Not a t'ing." 

The temperature was forty degrees below zero that 
day, the coldest Hamilton Inlet had witnessed for a 
long time. The dogs were never worse and it was with 
difficulty that they could haul the komatik through the 
deep snow. Everything around had a cold, rugged and 
stern appearance. The sun came peeping over the hill; 
but as he skimmed along by the horizon he had but 
little power to subdue the effect of the terrible frost. 

My feet began to chafe. The friction caused by the 
hard straps of my snow-shoes was producing severe 
pain, and I could feel that with every step I made the 
sores on both feet were getting deeper. The heavy 
walking, the severe cold, my sore feet, all combined, 
made travelling a misery that day. 

After walking many hours and thinking we must be 
getting near Pearl River I stopped and waited for 
Charlie, who was a few hundred yards behind with the 

"We must be very near to Pearl River now, are we 
not?" I said. 

"We be just half-way now, sir. Wot's the matter 
wi yah feet?" 

"The snow-shoe straps are chafing them, Charlie." 

"'Tis too cold fer yah to tek off yah boots yer, sir." 


We went into the bush near by, burrowed a hole in 
the snow, lit a fire and made some tea, which refreshed 
us very much. However, it was too severely cold to 
remove my moccasins and fix up my feet; neither could 
I remedy the straps in any way, so on we went. It 
was with a sense of relief that just at dusk I saw smoke 
rising up from a patch of woods yonder. Never was I 
more glad to see smoke rising from a chimney. 

It was not long before I appeared before the open 
door of Chaulk's house. 

" Good evenin' sir. You be the new min'ster, I s'pose?' ' 
"Yes. This is a cold day, Mr. Chaulk." 
"Yes, sir, the coldest ever I seen in my life." 
When I brushed the snow off my moccasins, to my 
surprise, I saw that they were encased with blood. Mr. 
Chaulk was much frightened. 

"Tek off your moccasins and see how your feet is, 
Mr. Young," said Mrs. Chaulk. 

Being saturated with blood the moccasins and socks 
were frozen together. I was afraid my feet were badly 
frozen, which might prove serious without medical aid. 
When I thawed my socks apart and removed them I 
found there was nothing more serious than that two 
toes on each foot were chafed nearly to the bone. 

After tea the two families of this settlement gathered 
for service. Resting one knee on a chair, and one foot 
lightly on the floor, I conducted a short service, after 



which I retired to my sleeping bag and slept as only a 
tired man can do, till daylight. 

I could not wear snow-shoes the next day. Mrs. Daniel 
Campbell's winter quarters were at Muligan, four miles 
farther up the bay, so I resolved to go to her hospitable 
home and rest awhile. It was hard travelling as I had 
to wade through about two feet of snow without snow- 
shoes. After nearly three hours of labourious work we 
arrived at Mrs. Campbell's and were welcomed in good 
Labrador style to the home of the oldest lady in the bay. 

I remained with her four days; and what interesting 
days these were to me ! Her good memory enabled her 
to relate interesting stories about the old Eskimos, the 
first comers from England, Lord Strathcona's dealings 
with the people, etc. It was her one wish now to be 
near a minister when she was passing out of this world. 
This comfort was not granted, however, but the Master 
was there Himself, which was infinitely better. 

On January 25th I left Muligan and arrived at 
North-West River the following day. Here I met 
George Elson, the Indian guide, who had accompanied 
Hubbard and Wallace in the wild. Wallace was at 
Kenemesh under Dr. Hardy's care, while the body of 
Mr. Hubbard was still lying under the snow, seventy 
miles from North-West River. At 'this place that 
remarkable man, the late Lord Strathcona, then Donald 
Smith, spent several of his seventeen years in Labrador. 



He accomplished many remarkable tasks during his 
long life, but the greatest, perhaps, was his endurance 
of the isolations and privations of Labrador for so 
many years. 

The next day I proceeded to Mud Lake, the terminus 
of the mission. Thus after a month of arduous travels 
over the ice ; . through snow, across portages, under diffi- 
cult and trying conditions, I looked forward with plea- 
sure to a short rest. 




Mud Lake was then the winter headquarters in Lab- 
rador of Dickie and Company; and as this place was 
the centre of activity in the bay I purposed to spend a 
couple of months there. With this in view, I had ar- 
ranged in the summer with one of the natives of Mud 
Lake, whom I met at Rigolet, for two months' lodgings 
with him during the winter. This man had deposited 
several hundred dollars in the bank that year, so I 
expected his home was the best in the place. He was 
a widower and his mother, a woman sixty-five years of 
age, was keeping house for him. 

On arriving at his home I introduced myself to the 
old lady and was invited in. I had to stoop consider- 
ably to get into the porch, and when I entered the 
kitchen discovered it to be the only room in the house. 
On either side of this kitchen was a table on one of 
which was a sewing machine; in the centre of the room 
was a large stove, while at one end was a stool on which 
stood two water pails. At the other end were three 
beds in a row, exactly in the same position as bunks in 



a lumber camp. There was no loft in the house, and 
the most conspicuous things overhead were cobwebs. 
So this was to be my home for a couple of months. 
There was no better available. I wanted to do some- 
thing for the people of this centre and also to do some 
studying, for this was my first year's probation. 

The man of the house was away attending his fur 
traps, and did not expect to be home for a month. 
The old lady saw that I was hesitating and thinking 
that I was worrying because her son was away said: 
"It makes no diff'rence, sir, 'bout my son bein' away, 
you can stop yer all the same." 

I felt a little indignant for there were plenty of logs 
nearby that might be sawed into boards, and the house 
might be partitioned off into rooms. Looking at the 
old lady, and pointing towards the exposed beds, I 
said, "And where am I going to sleep, there?" 

"Yes, sir," she replied, "you can sleep der." 

I gave her to understand that I could not sleep in a bed 
so exposed and if nothing else could be done we should 
have to put up a screen. Whereupon she took down 
the piece of cotton that was hanging from the beam to 
the outer edge of her own bed, rummaged her box and 
brought out a piece of cretonne which together with the 
piece of cotton she tacked to the beam and to the side 
of the house three feet from the outer edge of my bed, 
just giving room enough to undress. 



The windows were immovable; and the continuance 
of the same air, with the long accumulation of dust, 
created an atmosphere sickening in the extreme. Fre- 
quently when the large stove was doing its best, I had 
to put down my book and run out of doors to catch a 
breath of fresh air. 

The old lady was a sufferer from catarrh, which she 
termed a cold, and frequently used her apron and her 
hands as substitutes for a handkerchief. One day when 
I came home after being away a few days, she turned 
her dark eyes to me and said : 

"He's comin' 'round 'gen, Mr. Young." 

"Who's coming around again?" I enquired. 

"The cold, sir, soon as he's gone he comes back agen." 

There was plenty of trout in the river close by the 
house and barrels of them could be caught. My bill of 
fare, for the most part, three times a day was bread, 
tea and trout. A few times only the table was enriched 
with fresh meat from the gun of the hunter. I do not 
write these things to throw any reflection on the people 
of Labrador. I write them only to show the nature of 
mission work there, the kind of people and the condi- 
tion under which they live. 

Twice on Sunday I preached to the natives and a few 
lumbermen in a small dwelling-house. I soon found 
that the lumbermen were exerting a demoralizing in- 
fluence upon the easily-led people of Labrador. In the 



same house in which I preached on Sundays, dancing 
was kept up until the early hours of the morning, largely 
through the influence of the white man. 

The weak and easily-led natives were carried away 
by this practice and were so captivated by it that it 
was hard for the Word of Life to find a lodging-place in 
their hearts. I felt what little good was accomplished 
on Sunday was often destroyed by the evil influence of 
the week. No one was brought into the consciousness 
'of pardoning grace and the spiritual atmosphere, such 
as we enjoyed at Paradise, was sadly lacking. How 
often those who have been blessed with better oppor- 
tunities have by their misuse exerted the worst influence, 
and the unfortunate people whom they should have 
uplifted and helped have been lowered and degraded! 

I visited the lumber-camps and was given a hearty 
welcome. One man said to me: "I did not expect to 
see a clergyman visit our camp away up here in Labra- 
dor." I held service in all the camps, and these lum- 
bermen, away from home and church, appreciated my 
visit very much. Unfortunately with the large field I 
had to cover it was very little I could do for them. 

I visited Kenemesh also, a twenty-mile walk from 
Mud Lake. Here I found Dr. Hardy, the Company's 
doctor, very ill. He was the only doctor within four 
hundred miles of the mill. He had given up hope of 
his own recovery, and was feeling very keenly his ina- 



bility to render any assistance to the sick, and grieved 
that he himself was destined to die away up in the far 
north, far from home and friends. 

Here I also met Dillon Wallace, who was at Kenne- 
mesh under treatment for his feet, which had been 
badly frost-bitten during his return trip from the wild. 
For a time the doctor's efforts to effect a cure proved 
futile, and the despondent doctor remarked: " Well, Wal- 
lace, we are both destined to die here together." But 
while he could not cure himself he succeeded before his 
death in bringing Mr. Wallace back to health. 

Mr. Stanton, the Company's electrician, who accom- 
panied Mr. Wallace on his second trip in the wild, had 
just installed an electric plant in the Company's build- 
ings at Kenemesh. I had the honour of preaching the 
first and perhaps the last sermon in a house lighted 
by electricity, in Labrador. 

This was in February and this morning the tempera- 
ture was sixty below zero, the lowest for the year. Mr. 
Bentley, the Company's store-keeper, had a great deal 
of trouble with his rather long, protruding nose; almost 
every day for a month it caught with the frost, and it 
became so sore that some declared he would lose it. 
One night while sleeping in bed, he felt himself grasp- 
ing something very hard, which seemed to him an 
axe-handle. It turned out, however, to be his nose, 
which had frozen hard and stiff. 



On the 22nd of March I again visited Kenemesh, arriv- 
ing there two hours and a half before the spirit of Dr. 
Hardy took its flight into the Great Beyond. I spoke 
a few comforting words to him, and while I was reading 
the eighth chapter of Romans, he peacefully passed 

Dr. Hardy was a native of Prince Edward Island and 
had been a Christian for many years. We gave his 
body temporary burial in the snow, from which place it 
was taken on the arrival of the first steamer to the coast, 
and conveyed to his home. 

During the interval between my first visit to Kene- 
mesh and this, I made a trip up Grand Lake. This trip 
will be the subject matter of the following chapter. 




The distance from Mud Lake to the head of Grand 
Lake, the winter quarters of some trappers whom I 
promised to visit, was fifty-six miles. The heaviest 
falls of snow come in March, and I knew a hard walk 
was before us. On March the 6th we left Mud Lake 
and walked that day to North- West River. 

. Here I met Mr. Wallace making preparations for 
bringing the body of Mr. Hubbard out of the wild. 
This was the 7th of March and the body had lain under 
the snow since the previous October, when the intrepid 
explorer had dropped at his post. Mr. Wallace, not 
having fully recovered, tried to secure the aid of trap- 
pers to help him. This was difficult for they 
wished to spend most of the winter on their hunting- 
grounds. He succeeded at length in getting two men, 
Thomas Blake and Duncan McLean, to go with George 
Bison. They left on the 9th of that month. Mr. 
Wallace was eager to do all in his power for his captain 
and leader, Mr. Hubbard. I slept that night with Mr. 
Wallace and with deep pathos he related to me in part 
the sad story of their trip in the wild. 
H 97 


We left Thomas Blake's at the Rapids early on the 
8th. At noon we halted, boiled the kettle and got 
lunch. We still had twenty miles of such heavy walk- 
ing before us that at dark we were many miles from our 
destination. I felt weary, for my powers of endurance 
were weakened as a result of the poor food obtained in 
Labrador. Moreover, to make matters worse, I had 
sprained one of my ankles in lifting up the snow that 
gathered on my snowshoes every step I made. 

At 8 o'clock p.m., after a walk of thirty-seven miles 
through a heavy fall of snow, we staggered into Donald 
Blake's house at the head of the lake. Donald had left the 
day before for his hunting- trail up the Nascaupee River, 
but Mrs. Blake gave us a hearty welcome, and appre- 
ciated greatly the long, heavy walk I had undertaken 
in order to visit them. That night I had the privilege 
of leading her to Christ; surely that was worth my hard 
trip of a hundred miles, for as Jesus said one soul is 
worth more than the whole world. 

The next day Donald returned home as a fresh fall of 
snow made travelling too heavy for him to proceed into 
the wild. We were delighted to see each other. Put- 
ting nine dollars in my hand, "Yer," he said, "take 
that, you is the first man that ever walked away up yer to 
see us." Donald was one of the well-to-do trappers, 
1 uiving as a reward of his industry a comparatively 



large bank account in St. John's. He was quite re- 
ligious, and gave a tenth of his income to the cause of 

On the 13th I went to the mouth of the Nascaupee 
River to visit another trapper, Alan Goudie. There I 
met Duncan McLean and George Bison on their way 
to the interior for the body of Mr. Hubbard. They 
had no difficulty in locating the place where the body 
lay. Though George had not been there since he left 
Mr. Hubbard in the tent on that memorable day, the 
16th October, five months before, his Indian instinct 
carried him right to the tent, and the first time digging 
down through six feet of snow found the body unhurt. 
The following day we returned to the Rapids. The 
long journey down the lake proved to be more weari- 
some than the journey inland. This was worse in con- 
sequence of the heavy falls of snow, and my sprained 
ankle made travelling very painful. The thirty-seven 
miles to Thomas Blake's at the Rapids seemed to be 
over fifty. We must have walked, I think, over forty 
miles that day, and forty miles through deep snow would 
be worse than fifty on a good road, for when darkness 
set in we were still twelve miles from the Rapids. The 
dread of walking into the open water necessitated our 
keeping to the land and walking around the bights 
instead of taking a straight course from point to point. 
At 9 o'clock p.m. we reached Thomas Blake's. My 
left leg seemed as if it were broken at the knee-joint, 



and I was too tired to sleep well on a hard floor, never- 
theless, the next day I had a walk of fifteen miles to 
visit a family I had not seen since arriving on the 

At North- West River I met a young Eskimo, Willie 
Ikie by name, very much excited over the pleasant pros- 
pect of an early marriage. Willie was very simple and 
Mr. McKenzie, the factor at the post, took great delight 
in teasing him, much to the amusement of Mr. Wallace. 
"Now," said McKenzie to Willie, "if you will marry 
Christiana (a girl who lived four miles away at a post 
called Butter and Snow), I will give you a barrel of flour, 
a clock and four dollars to pay the missionary." Willie 
shrugged his shoulders and grinned. 

"You know you ought to get married, Willie," 
McKenzie would say. 

"There is no life like married life. I am sure 
Christiana loves you, I saw her smiling at you the other 
day." Willie grinned. The boy was working for a 
French Company on the other side of the river. 

"Now the first thing you must do, Willie," said 
McKenzie, "is to ask the Company if they will allow 
you to bring your wife there." Willie did so. 

"Now the next thing you must do, is to ask the mis- 
sionary if he will marry you." 

Just as I was leaving North-West River for Mud 
Lake I heard someone behind me calling out, "Hi, Hi." 
Looking around I saw Willie coming after me. 



"Well, Willie, what is it?" 

"'11 yah merry me, sir?" 

"Oh, Willie, I will see about it later on." 

Willie at once went to McKenzie for he looked upon 
him as his adviser in all such matters informing him 
that the missionary had consented to marry him. 

Willie had not yet spoken to Christiana about the 
matter. In the meantime I wrote to Christiana's 
brother in view of persuading him to prevent the mar- 
riage if possible, but he refused to interfere. McKenzie, 
of course, did not think it was so serious and thought 
it would go off in a joke. 

"Well," said McKenzie, "if the Company has no 
objections to you bringing your wife to their post and 
the missionary has promised to marry you, then she 
must consent." 

"Ya," said Willie, giving vent to one of his peculiar 

"You must go to Butter and Snow some day and ask 
Christiana if she will marry you." 

Again Willie grinned consent and early one morning 
he made his way to Christiana's home. What language 
he used to express his all-pervading desire I do not 
know, but it had the desired effect. When I visited 
the North- West River a month later Willie and Christi- 
ana were at the post and everything was in readiness for 
the wedding. 



Willie entered the room with his bride leaning on his 
arm. I had great difficulty in getting them both through 
the ceremony. Every word I said brought a grin from 
Willie, while Christiana kept looking at him as though 
for advice on her part of the ceremony. Wallace and 
McKenzie were greatly amused. 

After they were married I said to Willie: "What 
church do you belong to?" 

"The same church our Saviour 'longs to, sir." 

"What church?" I asked again. 

"Same church our Saviour 'longs to, sir." 

Willie not only succeeded in getting Christiana, but 
he got his barrel of flour, clock and four dollars cash, 
the last of which he put in my hand as an acknowledg- 
ment of the invaluable service I had rendered him. 




I was anxious to visit again the little log huts nestled 
among the trees around the inlet and if possible to go 
as far as Sandwich Bay. There lay between Mud Lake 
and Paradise over two hundred miles of rough and hard 
travelling; I started early in April so as to get back to 
Lester's Point before the break-up. 

At North- West River I found Mr. Wallace making 
preparations for conveying the body of Mr. Hubbard 
along the coast. The travelling down the bay was 
poor and. as we had to makeso many calls we did not 
reach Rigolet till the 13th. All the people were de- 
lighted to see the missionary again and enjoyed and 
appreciated the second and last sermon for the year. 

At Rigolet I met Mr. Swaffield, who offered to take 
me to Cartwright on his komatik. As it would be too 
late for Charlie to return to Mud Lake after spending 
a fortnight with me at Paradise, I sent him back and 
embraced the opportunity so kindly offered by Mr. 

On the evening of the first day after leaving Charlie 
we were caught in one of those dreaded snowstorms 



which so often sweep the coast of Labrador. After 
some time ploughing through the snow Mr. Swaffield 
decided to turn into a river in search of a livyer's hut 
on the river-bank, two miles inland. But the driver, 
competent as he was, in the blinding snowstorm lost 
the trail and for three hours we wandered through 
little groves of small spruce, across marches and over 
banks of snow until 10 o'clock. Then having given up 
all hope of finding a night's shelter we decided to halt. 

We burrowed a hole in the snow with our snowshoes, 
gathered a little wood and lit a fire. We had, however, 
but little shelter as the place was rather barren and the 
trees were low and scattered. We huddled together 
around our little fire, which at times was almost ex- 
tinguished by the falling snow, and determined to make 
the best of a bad job. The worst feature about the 
whole matter was that none of our party knew the 
direction that would bring us to the trail. We had 
eleven dogs with us, nine of Mr. Swaffield's and two of 
mine. Our supply of food was small and someone 
remarked: "Surely we shall get out before we get the 
eleven dogs eaten." 

One of my dogs during the previous summer had 
come into too close contact with a porcupine, and as a 
consequence had received a shower of quills, which were 
now working their way through his body and making 
him very sick. For that reason I said, "I should not 



like to eat Tom." I thought if it came to the worst I 
might manage to eat Ranter, a very affectionate dog. 
Sometimes in spite of my efforts I would fall asleep and 
every time I could see the dogs ploughing through the 
snow with their ears just peeping above the surface. 
The ears of an Eskimo dog, unlike those of other dogs, 
always stand up. 

Just as the dawn broke in the eastern sky and the 
stars came peeping through the clouds as it cleared a 
little, my mind went back to that night just twelve 
months before, which I had spent so comfortably in 
my own home. It was my birthday and during tea 
someone (I forget whom) said to me, "Where do you 
expect to be on your next birthday?" 

"I do not know," I replied. 

When it came, however, I found myself somewhere 
in Labrador down in a hole of snow about five feet deep, 
lost. Then those words came back to me with a vivid 

As we crawled out of our hole in the snow I saw that 
this birthday was to be a memorable one. The sky was 
already clear and bright, and it could easily be seen 
that it was going to blow hard and freeze. That meant 
with two feet of light snow down that the whole country 
would be so full of drifting snow that one would hardly be 
able to see the dogs to the komatik, much less the trail. 

We hastened to find the trail, if possible, before the 



wind came. But that seemed hopeless and for hours 
we wandered about, not knowing in what direction we 
were going. At last we struck a river fifty yards wide. 
We followed it towards the sea as we thought. After 
we had walked along this river half a mile, John, our 
driver, said: "I b'lieve we are goin' in the country 
'stead of out." To make sure, if possible, he put his 
practiced eye on the river to see in which direction the 
descent was. Then he climbed up a tree and from its 
top saw in the ocean an island which he recognized. 

We retraced our course, but before we reached the 
coast the wind had risen almost to a gale and the drift- 
ing snow was whirling in all directions. The tempera- 
ture had fallen below zero. If we missed the house this 
time our case would be a bad one, accordingly we 
abandoned further search and made a dash for Samuel 
Pottle's at West Bay. Sometimes we could scarcely 
see the leading dog and I doubted if our guide could 
pilot us safely there. When, however, through the 
blinding snow we shot over the hill and our dogs stopped 
suddenly before the inviting door of Pottle's house, my 
faith in John was raised higher than ever. 

This was 2 o'clock in the afternoon and we were all 
glad to find ourselves at last comfortably sheltered from 
the raging storm. The usual meal of bread and tea 
was put before us. How I longed for something more 
strengthening, which longing was intensified by the sight 
of fifty newly-killed sea-ducks lying on the porch floor! 



By the morning the wind had completely ceased and 
perfect silence reigned everywhere. This was more no- 
ticeable in contrast with the roaring wind of the pre- 
vious day. We had over thirty miles of heavy walking 
to Cartwright, and I still felt the effect of the ankle- 
sprain I had received on my long tramp up Grand Lake. 

We made an early start; the days were now long and 
we hoped to reach our destination by dark. Mr. 
Swaffield, having no snowshoes, remained on the koma- 
tik, helping it along by the aid of his feet as much as 
possible, for the dogs' hauling powers were taxed to the 
utmost that day. 

It was the hardest day's travel of my life and the 
longest in time though not in distance. For hours we 
travelled in silence, all feeling too tired to talk. We 
halted at noon at Cape Porcupine, while Mrs. George 
Davis prepared a meal of bread and tea. When dark- 
ness came over the land we were nine miles from Cart- 
wright. How quiet and silent everything was ^iow! 
To us it seemed as though we were the only people in 
the world. The silence of the north is very impressive. 
All nature is held in the hand of a strong but silent 
power, except when broken by the roaring of the wind 
or groaning of the ice. 

The last few miles to Cartwright seemed long. I was 
almost too tired and hungry to proceed and felt at times 
like lying down on the ice. The silence of the party 



would be broken occasionally by the encouraging words 
of Mr. Swaffield, "Never mind, Mr. Young, we will 
soon be there. ". It was a beautiful night overhead and 
Cartwright could be seen in the distance, but it was 
labourious work getting through the thick snow. One 
could not help pitying the poor, hungry hounds as they 
wallowed through the snow. 

At last, at 11 o'clock p.m., an hour before Sunday, we 
arrived at Cartwright. Mrs. Swaffield had given up 
expecting Mr. Swaffield that night. I soon had the 
privilege of partaking of what I seldom got in Labrador, 
a solid meal of fresh meat and other luxuries. Mr. 
Swaffield offered me a glass of rum to revive me, but I 
declined it. He was not a drinker, but he thought that 
I should feel justified in deviating from the stern rules 
of our church under such circumstances. Speaking of 
the matter afterwards to one of our men at Paradise he 
said, "Mr. Young is a man of principle." I had for- 
gotten all about it and when told of the incident could 
hardly remember it. Mr. Swaffield himself is a man of 
principle, and has always been a sympathetic friend to 
the lonely missionary on the coast, and deeply inter- 
ested in the moral and spiritual well-being of the unfor- 
tunate people of Labrador. He is still on the coast. 

That night I slept in a comfortable bed. I preached 
twice on Sunday at Cartwright, and on Monday com- 
pleted the journey to Paradise. 




About 4 o'clock in the afternoon the komatik turned 
up the hill leading to the welcome door of Robert 
Mesher's house. They were all glad to see the mission- 
ary, more especially as they did not expect me to give 
them another visit that year, and I was happy to find 
myself again by the familiar fireside. 

The following night we had service. We had a de- 
lightful time; they sang and prayed in the good, old, 
Methodist fashion. I remained at Paradise a fortnight. 
The believers were greatly strengthened and helped 
after the long absence of services. 

We had a social evening worth mentioning at the 
home of Robert Mesher, the occasion being the golden 
wedding of the couple. Doctors are few and far be- 
tween in Labrador, but still some of the people live to 
a good, round age. In Paradise where there were only 
eleven families two old couples had celebrated their 
golden wedding, while another man was still compara- 
tively active in his eighty-fourth year. 

On the 2nd of May I again said ' ' good-bye ' ' to the friends 
of Paradise and soon we were off at a gallop over the 



smooth ice of the bay. The going was excellent; as it is 
generally that time of the year; the ice was still strong 
and in less than three hours we were at Cartwright. I 
learned that Mr. Wallace had passed just a few days 
before on his way to Battle Harbour with the body of 
Mr. Hubbard. What a sad home-going for Mr. Wallace! 

The next day Reuben Mesher, who brought me from 
Paradise, accompanied me across the bay, where I 
engaged another man to take me to Cape Porcupine. 
I held a service at George Davis' that night and arranged 
for him to take me to Lester's Point the next day, a 
distance of sixty miles. 

"My team is good fer dat," said George. 

"I want to call in and see the people when passing." 

"All right, sir, my dogs is good fer it." 

George had a good team of dogs and he took as much 
pride in them as a Newfoundland fisherman does in a 
new schooner or a wealthy citizen does in an automobile. 

Just as the sun peeped above the horizon the next 
morning we started on our long day's journey. At 
first the dogs went at a rapid pace of ten miles an hour, 
but after two or three hours' race they slowed down a 
little. Never did Labrador witness a more glorious day. 
The sun shone in all his strength upon the white snow, 
which was fast disappearing before his heating power; 
and an occasional groan of the sea in its efforts to burst 
itself free from its winter shackles of ice, the rattle of 



our komatik, the pat-pat-pat of the dogs' paws upon 
the snow were all that could be heard. 

We called at four places during the day, and had a 
word of prayer at each and three times had a "bite 
to eat." The people scattered along this part of the 
bay are very badly off. One woman told me that a 
few years previous to my visit she was four days with- 
out a morsel of any kind of food in her house. She was 
a widow and without means. In many cases such 
helpless people were not looked upon very kindly by 
the agents at the post. It was only when she had a 
meal or two of flour left that she sent her son for food 
to Rigolet, a distance of thirty miles. He had barely 
reached Rigolet when one of those terrible Labrador 
storms came and it was four days ere he returned with 
his meagre relief. Meantime his widowed mother killed 
a half -starving dog and cooked it for her four helpless 
and starving children. But she herself could not 
"stomach" the dog. When her son returned she was 
in a state of semi-consciousness and doubtless in a few 
hours would have died from starvation, had not relief 

A poor fellow for the same reason had stayed 
too long before he sought relief at Rigolet. He was 
caught in a' snowstorm a few miles from his hut, and 
being weakened by starvation soon gave up the struggle. 
After the storm abated he was found frozen in the ice. 



Just at dusk, having covered our journey of sixty miles, 
we arrived at Lester's Point. This was the longest dis- 
tance I had covered on komatik in one day, and I won- 
dered many times how the dogs could keep up their 
steady trot during all that long journey having had 
nothing to eat since the evening before. George had 
good reason to be proud of his team of dogs. Unfortun- 
ately not a solitary soul was found at the Point, so we 
returned to William Mugford's for the night, and George 
went home the next day. 

William Mugford belonged to Cupids, Newfoundland. 
His house was two miles from Lester's Point, where he 
had lived since he had settled in Labrador, twenty 
years before. 

"What induced you to come to Labrador?" I asked. 

"I came to Labrador, sir, because I thought I could 
make an easier living." 

The llth May I went across the bay to Tickeraluk. 
At this place there were five families, quite a large 
number for a settlement in Hamilton Inlet. Up to the 
previous autumn only three families had lived there. I 
said to Jerry Flowers, with whom I was staying, "Your 
place is improving. You have more company now 
since those other families have moved in." 

"Yes," he answered, "the fact o' th' matter is, sir, 
we have too much comp'ny." 

He was afraid, of course, that the newcomers might 
encroach upon his hunting-ground. Give a Labrador 



man a little hut comfortably situated among the trees 
with no one nearer to him than ten or twenty miles and 
he is happy. 

During my short stay at Tickeraluk Jerry killed sev- 
eral wild geese. This was the time of the year that they 
go north and large flocks could be seen going in that 
direction every day. It was a great treat to the hungry 
missionary to satisfy his hitherto insatiable appetite 
with this delicious food. You can imagine how he felt 
after living for ten months literally upon bread and tea, 
to see before him a large, fat goose nicely cooked. 
Music, art and literature give great intellectual delight 
and pleasure, but a good, fat goose is better for a hun- 
gry stomach. 

I preached in Jerry's house twice on Sundays, while 
during the week I did some cramming with my studies. 
The people enjoyed the fortnight the missionary spent 
with them. They were good, moral-living people and 
claimed they were doing the best they could in religious 
matters. Surely their privileges were few, but one would 
be better satisfied if they could witness to a definite 
change of heart. 

On the 24th of May, Jerry went to his summer post 
across the bay, while I went to Lester's Point. Most of 
the people have their summer and winter quarters and 
in some cases these are a hundred miles apart. Every 
fall and spring they can be seen putting all their belong- 
i 113 


ings into a little dingey and going off, in the fall to their 
hunting-ground, in the summer to their salmon post. 
The worst feature about this is the constant removal 
of the sick and the aged. For them the continual 
moving under such conditions is terrible. To see old 
women and sick people unfit to be out of bed crouched 
down in one of those miserable boats, during a long jour- 
ney in October, touches the heart of the hardest man. 

Joe Groves, Jerry's brother-in-law, an invalid, lived 
with Jerry and with friends since his wife's death. 
He had worn himself out in the service of the Hudson's 
Bay Company. Joe had been an active man and a 
faithful worker, but had received meagre wages. Now 
when he was bent and crouched from hard work and 
disease he had to get along as best he could. It never 
seemed to occur to him or to the Company that they 
should support him and provide a home for him at the 
post, but some of us thought differently. He had served 
them many long years, in helping to add to their fortunes, 
and now' in justice he should not have been thrown off 
when he could serve them no longer. This world has not 
yet reached the stage when the poor man receives justice. 
Those living in the poorer sections are crushed in spirit. 
Having always lived in an extremely dependent state 
it seems to be impossible to arouse in them a spirit of 

I was expecting my examination papers to arrive at 
Rigolet in July, so I resolved to devote a month to study. 



I was all alone at the Point, the nearest people being the 
Mugford family; I made up my mind to study at the 
Point and sleep at Mugford's. 

Bach day's work for the following three weeks was 
as follows: Rising early I took my breakfast at Mug- 
ford's, then started for the Point, climbing around the 
shore or over the ice barricades like a goat for there are 
no roads in Labrador; an hour's walk brought 
me to the Mission House. By the time sufficient wood 
was cut to last the day and the fire lit, it was 10 o'clock. 
From 10 o'clock till 12 o'clock was spent in study, then 
the kettle was put on and the dinner was prepared. 
After dinner, the dishes washed, I went for a walk around 
the Point. I could see Rigolet two miles distant across 
the bay, but nothing else to tell me there was any life 
on the rugged coast. At 2 o'clock I sat down to study 
and at 5 o'clock prepared tea, after which I returned to 
Mugford's home arriving there about dusk, sometimes 
a little before. Those were lonely days to me and I 
realized the truth of those words, " It is not good for man 
to be alone" as never before. 

When on the morning of the 14th of June I cast my 
eyes across the bay and saw Thomas Groves and his 
family in a small boat coming towards the Point, their 
summer quarters, my joy, for the time being, seemed full. 




I now decided to live in the Mission House alone, 
night and day. I was not made for a hermit's life and 
I confess I did not enjoy it very well. I was not, how- 
ever, entirely void of company, for mice could be heard 
nearly all night long running about upstairs like children. 
One night I was awakened by something crawling over 
my naked feet. After some kicking I heard a mouse 
fall on the floor, but immediately it jumped on my head 
and the battle continued and the second time the mouse 
fell on the floor. But in a moment it was on my feet 
again. "You miserable creature," I said, "you are 
determined to sleep with me to-night, are you?" With 
a tremendous kick I landed it the third time on the floor. 
Finding its company was not wanted it gave up the idea 
of sleeping with the missionary. 

Hamilton Inlet during a gale of wind on the llth of 
June freed itself from the last bridge of ice that had so 
long held it in its grip. Every day there were new ar- 
rivals from the bay. The natives, bringing most of their 
belongings, were coming in their little boats from their 



winter quarters to their salmon posts. Charlie had 
promised to come down the bay as soon as it broke up 
in the spring and now I was expecting him every day. 

On the 23rd of June I saw a man with short legs, long 
body and auburn whiskers, stepping ashore from a 
small boat near the Mission House. It was Charlie. 

"Hello, Charlie," I said, "where is Mrs. Flowers?" 

"She is up to th' lumber-camp cookin' fer some 
lumbermen, sir." 

"You promised me you would all come down as soon 
as the ice broke up. " 

"Yes, sir; but I couldn't very well bring 'er down and 
tek 'er back 'gain in th' fall." 

To solve my difficulty Thomas Groves and his family 
moved into the Mission House. I was a poor cook and 
it was a great relief to me, after cooking a month for 
myself, to have my meals brought into the dining-room 
to me. 

The only signs of summer yet were the breaking up 
of the ice, the melting of the snow and the rising of the 
temperature. No schooner or steamer from the outer 
world had yet made its appearance, no signs of sprouting 
grass could be seen and no wild flower had yet attempted 
to unfold itself in the sun. 

From the flag-stand a hundred yards from the Mission 
House one could see ten miles down the bay. How often 
I went to that stand and strained my eyes trying to 



make out a schooner's sail or a steamer's smoke ! I must 
have gone there a hundred times, until at last I felt that 
I must look in vain. Finally on the 24th of June after 
such a long wait for the approach of something from the 
outer world, I saw a schooner sailing in the bay. What 
a welcome sight and what a relief! This was the first 
thing I had seen from the outer world since the 8th of 
October, over eight months before. It was a fishing 
schooner from Newfoundland and had come to the bay 
for wood. She was anchored five miles from the Point. 
Thomas Groves and I went aboard the next morning 
to glean the news. 

"Well, Captain," I said, as I crawled in over the rail 
of the schooner, "how is all the world getting along?" 

"Oh, everything is much the same, only there is a 
great war raging between Russia and Japan." 

"And what is the news in Newfoundland?" 

"Nothing. Has the mail boat not arrived yet?" 
he said. 

"No, sir." 

"Then she will soon for she was to leave on the 14th, " 
was the consoling reply. 

This was Saturday, and the same evening as I was 
sitting in my study poring over one of my text- 
books Mrs. Groves knocked at the door and said, 
"Mr. Young, there is a steamer comin' up th' bay." 
The book was immediately dropped and Thomas' boy 



and I started for Rigolet. She passed us in the stream 
but it was too dark to make out her name. 

"I don't believe it is the Virgina Lake now," I said. 

"Oh yes, sir, 'tis she all right," the boy replied. 

When we paddled by the steamer's side at Rigolet I 
read on her bow ' ' Viking. ' ' It was the steamer of 
Dickie and Company from Halifax, bound for Kene- 
mesh. We paddled back to the Point again with a feel- 
ing of great disappointment, to say the least. 

Sunday we had service twice in the church. About 
thirty people were present and we had a good time. 

Monday at 5.30 p.m. as I was in the attitude of quiet 
meditation, another hard rap came at my study door. 


"There is a steamer comin' up the bay, Mr. Young." 

"Is that so?" I replied, for the news seemed too good 
to be true. 

"Surely it must be the mail-steamer this time." 
I had strained my eyes trying to see a steamer down the 
bay a few moments before, but could see nothing upon 
the water. 

An hour later I anxiously watched the clerk assort 
the mail at Rigolet. This was the first mail, but one, 
that I had received since the mail-boat made her last 
trip the previous fall. The last day of April, when at 
Paradise, I received a mail which came overland via 
Quebec, but the news was old, the mail being posted on 
the llth of January. 



There was something about Labrador life that lured 
me and that I liked in spite of its isolation and hardships. 
But the conditions under which the missionary lives 
and works there make it hard upon his health. I had 
lost twenty pounds in weight and some physical endur- 
ance; scurvy had made its appearance in my gums and 
tongue, creating a soreness which remained for a year after 
I left the coast. The cause, no doubt, was the lack of 
meat and vegetables. One would not mind the twenty and 
thirty miles' walk a day through the heavy snow if there 
awaited him a good, solid meal at the end of the journey. 
But this everlasting diet of bread and tea with the hard 
work would weaken the strongest constitution. For- 
tunately I never had to rest a day, so the work did not 

The 12th of July, the mail-steamer again steamed into 
Rigolet. By this time everything had taken on a sum- 
merlike appearance as far as this is possible in Labrador. 
All the snow had disappeared but there was still much of 
the rough, Arctic ice about which was ever drifting down 
from the Arctic Ocean. The cod-fish had swum to the 
shore; thousands of Newfoundland fishermen were 
scattered all along the coast, and there were fairly good 
signs of salmon in the bays. 

After spending another Sunday at the Point I began 
to make preparations for my summer tour around the 
mission. I had no doubt that our new mission boat at 



Snack Cove was completed, as I had seen the builder 
in the winter and he had given me his guarantee that 
she would be ready for me when I came for her in the 
summer. I had arranged with Thomas Groves to go 
with me in the mission boat for the summer, and on 
the following Saturday we took passage in a trader 
which was going direct to Snack Cove. 




The wind was directly against us and we had to beat, 
or tack, the whole distance out of the bay, the mouth 
of which we reached by dawn. It was then calm and up 
till 2 p.m. there was not a breath of wind upon the waters 
of the Atlantic. The rough ice from the Arctic regions 
was very thick for that time of the year, and the blue 
waters were dotted everywhere with white sheets of 
ice, which glistened in the sun. Everything was quiet, 
scarcely a ripple upon the surface of the water, when, 
suddenly there came a rushing, mighty wind from 
the north, changing everything. The great sails, went 
out with a jerk and every man with one exception 
was immediately on deck. 

"Haul down the sails," shouted the captain. " 'ard 
ups and 'ard downs," came from the man on the look- 
out as our vessel just escaped one sheet of ice after 
another. The vessel was soon going at the rate of ten 
miles an hour, and if she struck one of those icebergs, 
a watery grave for us all was almost inevitable. 

The main topsail in some way got tangled up in the 
rigging and this prevented the men from lowering any 



other sail. We had two lumbermen from the mill on 
board; one of them when the gale struck us rushed to 
the cabin and sat there, with his elbows upon his knees 
and his hands to his face, trembling with excite- 
ment. The other man, a Mr. Soy, was very active, 
catching hold of the halyards, sheets, etc., and doing 
his best in the emergency. When it was over, he said 
to me: "There was so much fun about it, anyway." 
The sails being lowered she went along comfortably 
under small canvas and at 5 o'clock we dropped anchor 
in Snack Cove. 

I went ashore, gathered a congregation, and held a 
service. Several of my audience were Newfoundlanders 
and it did one's soul good to listen to them as they poured 
out their souls to God in the fisher-folks' characteristic 

As I came ashore I noticed that our mission boat was 
still on the dock in an unfinished condition. I said 
nothing about it till Monday morning. I learned then 
that the builder owing to sickness during the winter was 
unable to complete the boat. He was now in the midst 
of the salmon fishery and at first refused my urgent 
request that he complete the work, but afterwards 
consented to do so "between whiles." With what 
help Thomas gave him and with the assistance so kindly 
given by the Newfoundland fishermen, who were fishing 
there, she was soon completed and in less time than a 
fortnight was launched. 



I named her the Arminian, conveying the idea of free 
grace, a doctrine propagated by the saintly and scholarly 
theologian, James Arminius, after whom, by the way, I 
have the honor to be named. 

She was a comfortable, little deck boat with a nice 
little cabin but of course was too small for efficient ser- 
vice on the stormy coast. She was, however, a great 
improvement on the old mission boat. 

We started off with a fairly good westerly breeze and 
while the wind lasted covered about six miles an hour. 
In the evening the wind moderated and we towed the 
Arminian into a comfortable harbour, where we spent 
the night in the cabin of our little boat of which I was very 
proud. The next day at noon we reached the Point. 

The 5.5. Virginia Lake had called again at Rigolet 
during my absence, this time bringing my examination 
papers. I did not feel equal to the task, however, I went 
to Rigolet and wrote them. That being done we started 
on our trip to the lumber-mill. 

Owing to the light breeze the first day we covered 
only fifteen miles. At dark we were becalmed and drop- 
ped anchor by the straight shore, and lay down for a 
nap. At midnight I heard the rippling of water by the 
side of our little boat. I was soon on deck and to my 
delight a light breeze from the east was blowing. 

" Come, Thomas, it is blowing a fair wind and we had 
better take advantage of it; for it is as likely as not to 
change by daylight and blow a gale from the west. ' ' 



' ' All right, sir, " said Thomas, and in a few minutes the 
Arminian was on her way to the head of the bay, and 
very gracefully she went along under a moderate breeze. 
At dusk the following evening we arrived at North- 
West River. 

There is only a very narrow and crooked channel 
leading into Kenemesh; the sand-banks almost cover 
the bed of the harbour. Thomas would not undertake 
to pilot our boat into the harbour as he had never been 
there. I did so and brought her to the wharf by the 
mill without mishap. I should not have been surprised 
if she had grounded for I went in largely by guess. 

Leaving the Arminian at Kenemesh I went in another 
boat to Mud Lake where I intended to spend the fall 
and part of the winter. We were also having a school 
teacher from Newfoundland for the settlement and I 
tried to arrange lodgings for us both. I got a boarding 
house for Hudson, the teacher, but could not get a place 
for myself. Indeed, for some reason, the people seemed 
very reluctant to have the missionary remain, neverthe- 
less I determined to stay. I returned to Kenemesh and 
waited for a good time to go to Lester's Point. 

We did not have long to wait. The next morning it 
was blowing a strong breeze from the south-west and 
at 6 o'clock we sailed out of the little harbour of Kene- 
mesh. As the sun rose the wind increased and by 10 
o'clock it had risen to a gale, and the mainsail had to be 



completely lowered. Under the foresail and jib the 
Arminian rode the gale fairly well, until about 2 o'clock 
when the foresail had to be lowered. 

"She is a good sea boat," Thomas remarked, and so 
she proved to be for her size or we should have had a hard 
time that day. For two hours she went along under her 
jib. We thought of reaching St. John's harbour but 
failed to do so as it lay too far to the windward. After 
we passed St. John's Island the water was smoother and, 
hoisting more sail, we went along better and dropped 
our anchor in Snook's Cove, just at dusk. This is 
the place where George Ellidge, the lone missionary, 
spent a winter seventy-eight years before. 

As I looked back over that day I was thankful to God 
for our safe return from the mill. I also felt proud of 
our little boat, the Arminian. 

The following day we ran to Lester's Point. 




Already the nights were getting cooler which made us 
realize that our short summer was fast drawing to a close. 
I had my trip to Indian Harbour yet to make and without 
delay we proceeded north. We visited several places 
along the coast, arriving at Indian Harbour for Sunday, 
where I preached in the Deep Sea Mission Chapel to a 
large congregation of Newfoundland fishermen. 

Every day large fleets of fishing-vessels of various 
sizes, with all sails spread, could be seen going south. 
The birds too, being warned of the near approach of 
winter, could be seen flying in the same direction; even 
the fish were leaving the shore and swimming to deeper 
and warmer water. All this told me only too plainly 
that I should soon be left again upon the cold and isolated 
coast with, but few exceptions, the natives, half-breeds 
and Eskimos as my only companions. 

On our return trip to Lester's Point we met a heavy 

breeze blowing out of the bay, and before we reached 

home the seas had well washed the deck of the Armin- 

ian. In a few days, John Hudson, our teacher ior Mud 

j 129 


Lake, arrived. Thomas took the Arminian to Double 
Mer and hauled her up for the winter. Hudson and I 
went to Molioch where, in a few days, we hoped to 
get a passage in John Blake's boat to Kenemesh. This 
was my final farewell to Lester's Point. 

At Molioch we stayed with Fred. Blake. Mr. and 
Mrs. Blake had two lovely little girls, who were excep- 
tionally kind and affectionate; their affections extended 
even to the numerous mice which infested their dwell- 
ing. One mouse was so tame that it would eat out of 
their hands. I was deeply interested and tried to use 
my powers of attraction upon the pet mouse, and to 
my surprise it came and comfortably ate a piece of 
bread from my hand. 

After another Sunday had passed we left for the mill 
in John Blake's boat, which was a little larger than the 
Arminian. Ten of us huddled together in her little 
cabin, and, of course, there was no such thing as sleep- 
ing aboard her. Fred. Blake and his family were on 
board, and Mrs. Blake and the children had a trying 
experience, for the water was very rough. This, how- 
ever, is a common experience for the women of Hamilton 
Inlet. Every summer they come down the fiord with 
their husbands, often meeting a bad time and in a far 
worse boat than John Blake's. This was the first time 
since coming to Labrador that the missionary felt the 
effects of the sea. Hudson, too, was feeling very un- 



comfortable. We were out all night and that boat 
rolled and tossed about until dawn, when the wind 
veered from the north and we "just lay along with all 
sails drawn." 

Signs of the approaching winter could be seen 
everywhere and especially on the Mealy Mountains, 
which were already covered with a mantle of white. 
Other boats could be seen sailing up the bay, and all 
were in a hurry to get settled in their snug winter quart- 
ers at the head of the fiord before winter set in. We 
arrived at Kenemesh that evening just before sunset. 

The next evening I preached to a comparatively large 
congregation of Nova Scotians, who had been working 
at the mill during the summer. Most of them were 
now returning home as the mill was closing down for the 

The following day we went to Mud Lake ; glad indeed 
I was that all my boating was ended for that year. Now 
new difficulties appeared, for there is no end to difficulties 
in Labrador. Mark Best, a native, offered to board the 
school teacher, but no place whatever could be found 
for the missionary. I tried to make some arrangement 
with the lumber company, but they did not have room 
enough for their own -men and the natives made all sorts 
of excuses. Apparently they were not anxious for me 
to stay there with them, the reason for which will be 
dealt with in another chapter. It was impossible for me 



to return to Paradise at that season of the year and that 
was the only other place where I could spend the fall, 
unless I hid myself away with one family somewhere in 
the bay. I remained with Mrs. Best, though she never 
really gave her consent, but she could not turn me out 
of doors. The thing was humiliating to me. 

The Company's physician, Dr. D. T. C. Watson, was 
a splendid type of Christian man and in him I found a 
congenial friend and companion. This meant more than 
I can express to a lone missionary amidst the isola- 
tions of Labrador. In my absence he held services for 
the people on Sunday and his work was a great blessing 
to both lumbermen and natives. 

On the 5th of October, five days after we arrived at 
Mud Lake, Hudson opened school in a little house given us 
by the Company for that purpose. As far as I know 
this was the first school ever taught in the place, yet 
the natives could all read and write. 

A feeling of loneliness came over me when I realized 
that I was again cut off from all connections with the 
outer world for eight long months. No news could be ob- 
tained and fifteen hundred miles of rugged coast lay 
between us and the place of connection with the outer 
world, over which one would have to travel by komatik 
and foot in order to escape the desolation of a Labrador 
winter. With such a prospect before us we settled down 
to do the best we could under existing conditions. 



Navigation was now closed. The bays were freezing 
up and the stern and rugged headlands, clothed in their 
icy garments, stood like sentinels guarding the coast, 
forbidding the approach even of the most trustworthy 
steamer. All who were leaving had gone. No one now 
could come to us and we could not go to them. The 
face of nature was covered with ice and snow, the trees 
were laden with their heavy burden of white, the hills 
looked down upon us in cold and silent determination, 
in fact, everything was held in the grip of winter's icy 

Labrador winter life is a real struggle with the ele- 
ments, and one has to be well clad to overcome them. 
I again resorted when travelling to my warmest cloth- 
ing, including my adikey and sealskin pants. One liv- 
ing in the far north can scarcely fail to be impressed 
with the apparent mercilessness and sternness of nature. 
Everything seems hard and rough, but there is on the 
other hand something grand and majestic about winter 
in the northern regions. Everything has the appear- 
ance of strength and firmness. Though nature lacks 



softness and beauty it is characterized almost entirely 
by ruggedness and strength. The character of the 
people does not, in any marked way, reflect the rough- 
ness and sternness of nature by which they are sur- 

The sky in fine weather is generally cloudless and has 
a cold, crisp appearance. It is often made luminous by 
the frequent occurrence of the auroras. These auroras 
generally proceed from a cloud or haze in the northern 
sky and stretch away towards the east and west. They 
cause one to stop and wonder as they rush about over 
the sky in all directions from the horizon to the zenith. 

I preached in a large cook-house belonging to the 
Company. The need of a church at this centre was 
keenly felt, but it was impossible to build just then. 
My successor, Ezra Broughton, who went to Labrador 
after completing his theological course at Mount Allison 
University, succeeded in erecting at Mud Lake a splen- 
did little church, which stands as a monument to his 
energy and ability. 

Twice I visited the lumber-camps, accompanied by 
Dr. Watson. It was a real pleasure indeed to walk 
with him the twelve or fourteen miles to the camp. 
Occasionally he preached for me, especially when visit- 
ing the camps. 

Dr. Watson had never learned how to skate and dur- 
ing the fortnight of smooth ice on the bay it was my 


ffe A I S k n> !i Ba / S Agents and their Guides. 

i D La ^ ra< J? r Half-breed and his Home. 

(c) Kev. E. Broughton, Missionary to Labrador (1905-06). 


privilege to teach him the art. It was amusing to 
watch him. At first I held his arm as he tried to make 
a few strokes, but thinking he could manage alone he 
started off with a beginner's self-confidence and the 
next minute his head met the ice with a terrible force. 

"What did you see, Doctor," I asked. 

"I saw twenty moons," he replied. 

Several times he tried to break the ice with the crown 
of his head, but he disregarded my advice and persisted 
in skating without my assistance. In a very short time 
he became a comparatively good skater. We both en- 
joyed immensely a few hours' skating every night under 
the moon-lit and starry heavens, and it was with a 
feeling of genuine regret that we watched the scene of 
our happy recreation spoiled by a fall of snow. 

One Saturday Hudson went with me to Goose Bay 
to visit a lumber-camp and the two native families 
there. It was a nine-mile walk. On our way up we 
met a gang of Mountaineer Indians coming from the 
wild to Mud Lake where they hoped to do some trading 
with the Company. The men were hauling the canoes 
and the women brought other necessities on the tobog- 
gans. Children too young to walk were lashed on a 
toboggan, drawn by the mother. The women were very 
shy and kept as far away from us as possible. 

Everything was now held in winter's strong embrace. 
The frost was keen as we faced the bay against the wind 



and Hudson was getting his first real taste of a Labrador 
winter, and his nose was troubling him some. 
A long, protruding nose gives one much trouble 
when stemming a gale of wind with the temperature 
thirty below zero, and it is very convenient for the 
Eskimos that their olfactory appendages are so flat. 

We had two fine services on Sunday, one in the lum- 
ber-camp and one at the home of a native. We started 
early Monday morning for Mud Lake, and after walk- 
ing six miles had a three-mile portage to cross. There 
were two trails across this portage and by mistake I 
took the wrong one that took us out in Grand River a 
mile above Mud Lake. After walking some distance I 
began to feel that we were not in the right trail. 

"This is not the way we came," said Hudson. 

"I don't think it is, for nothing seems familiar to me 
here," I replied. The expression on Hudson's face told 
me plainly that he had lost faith in me as a guide. 

"How did you come to take the wrong path?" 

"We will be all right, this trail will take us out in 
Grand River anyway." We walked and walked, and it 
seemed as if we would never reach the river. At last 
we came upon the river, but there was no sign of the 

"Where are we now?" 

"We must be on Grand River," I said, but Hudson 
would not be convinced that we were on the right trail 
until we got close to the village. 



Early in December I visited North- West River and 
gave them another Sunday. Mr. McKenzie had left 
this station the previous summer and Mr. Stuart was 
now in charge of the post. He had up to that time 
spent twelve years in the Hudson's Bay Company's 
service in Labrador and the previous winter had been 
on furlough in the old country and on the continent. 
He was now back to bleak Labrador again, and the 
Company had no more loyal servant in their employ 
than Mr. Stuart. 

Shortly after returning to Mud Lake I began to make 
preparations for my long and last trip around the mis- 
sion. But before we leave Mud Lake behind I shall 
give an account of the struggle we had there with in- 
temperance. This is the subject of the next chapter. 




Many of the men who were engaged in the lumber 
concern at Mud Lake were addicted to strong drink 
before coming to Labrador. It appears their usual cus- 
tom was to work a few months in the woods, then return 
to their homes in the village and spend the greater part 
of their earnings in the saloon, while their wives and 
families were left with but a meagre share. 

It was partly through the influence of the wives that 
some of those men went to Labrador. The half heart- 
broken wives and mothers hoped that in Labrador, 
where license to sell liquor was not allowed, their hus- 
bands and sons would be free from the temptation and 
soon would be cured of the habit. With this hope in 
their hearts they were prepared to make the sacrifice 
of leaving their homes in Canada and settling with 
their husbands in the cold and isolated interior of 

Intoxicating liquor destroys the finer feelings of the 
soul, saps the affections of the heart and turns a 
man almost into a beast. These men forgot the sacri- 
fice their wives had made, they ignored their tender 



feelings and were carried away by the insatiable thirst 
for liquor. While license could not be obtained in 
Labrador the burning thirst of those men for intoxicants 
resulted in their getting a substitute brewed on the 
spot, which produced a worse effect upon the mind and 
body than the genuine liquor. 

The concoction, as far as I could learn, was a mixture 
of Jamaica ginger, barley, raisins, tobacco and sugar. 
The recipe was given to two of the native women, who 
agreed to manufacture the mixture and at once engaged 
in the unlawful and demoralizing business. 

Several gallons were brewed and sold for $1.50 per 
gallon. As a result drunkenness became prevalent in 
Mud Lake, and without policemen or any restraint of 
the law, it was almost a risk for one to travel along the 
lonely path unarmed. 

A conversation with the foreman's wife disclosed to 
me the sadness of the situation caused by the selling of 
intoxicants there. She had hoped that when her hus- 
band came to Labrador he was escaping from the saloon, 
with all its evils. Two or three of the native homes 
were practically turned into "shebeens" and the native 
women had forgotten or ignored the suffering they were 
bringing upon their sisters from abroad, by engaging in 
this pernicious trade. When the Canadian women 
realized with bitter disappointment that the saloon was 
still in their midst their happiness was gone and their 
hopes dashed to the ground. 



Two of the native women, encouraged by their hus- 
bands and sons, were at this time busily engaged brew- 
ing a large supply of this concoction for seventy lumber- 
men, when they returned from the woods in the Christ- 
mas holidays. I became indignant and resolved to do 
my best to wipe this evil from the place. 

Accordingly Dr. Watson and I went to the homes of 
those concerned and strongly repudiated their actions. 
When asked why they were brewing the intoxicating 
liquor, they replied: "Because we were asked to do so 
by the lumbermen." We showed them the evil result 
and the unlawfulness of their actions. I warned them 
that if they did not discontinue that demoralizing busi- 
ness I would put the matter into court when I went to 
St. John's in the following summer, which I did on my 
arrival in the city in June. I could understand now 
why they did not want me stationed in their midst, and 
yet these very people were formerly always so glad to 
see the missionary and to retain him as long as possible. 
It was painful to see them change so under the influence 
of the white men. 

As we were trying to stop the sale of the intoxi- 
cants we also felt it our duty to provide some sort of 
entertainment for the men when they came from the 
woods. Hudson and the doctor began training the 
school children and the young ladies of the place for an 
entertainment, consisting of singing, recitations and dia- 



logues, to be held on Monday evening, December 27th. 
This we thought would instruct, interest and amuse the 
people. For a fortnight they worked hard training the 
young people for this social gathering. The work was 
new and consequently rather difficult for the native 
children. But by perseverance and patience on the part 
of Hudson and the doctor, especially the former, the 
programme was completed by Saturday, and every- 
thing was in readiness for the entertainment, which 
was to take place in the Company's cook-house, the 
only available place. 

Meanwhile most of the lumbermen returned from the 
camps to Mud Lake on Saturday afternoon. Some 
of them were almost like fiends and immediately made 
their way to the houses where the mixture was ready 
for them. To drink that concoction they must have 
had little regard for their money or their stomachs. 
Some of them were soon drunk and remained so all day 

Sunday evening a large number of natives and lum- 
bermen gathered at the cook-house for divine service. 
Some of the congregation were still under the influence 
of liquor. I had prepared a temperance sermon for the 
occasion for I felt this to be my duty. 

After showing, as far as I could, the evil effects of 
alcohol upon the human system, the intellect and the 
affections, I exposed the guilt of this business in the 


D. T. C. WATSON, M.D. 

Of the Nova Scotia Lumber Camp, who Helped to Fight 
Intemperance on the Labrador. 


strongest language at my command; first, of those who 
drink; secondly, of those who give it to others; thirdly, 
of those who sell it to others, especially of those who sell 
it without license; fourthly and lastly, of those who are 
indifferent and will not use their influence to remove the 
curse from their midst. 

Some of the congregation appreciated the plain words 
of the preacher, while as I expected, the anger of others 
was aroused. One of the half-drunken men arose dur- 
ing the sermon and staggered towards the door and I 
thought he meant to take hold of me and see what he 
could do with me. He quietly went out, however, and 
left me alone. After the sermon I announced the 
entertainment for the following evening. 

I was very sorry to be compelled to preach such a 
sermon, especially as it was my farewell address to the 
people of Mud Lake. I was then in my second year's 
probation, and looking back over it now after twelve 
years I do not think I should have been more lenient 
to the demoralizing and unlawful trade, but perhaps I 
might have been more discreet. 

The following morning four drunken men went to 
one of the native homes, purchased a jar of intoxi- 
cants and immediately proceeded to the home of Mrs. 
Best and asked for her permission to open and drink 
it there. 

"I can't allow you to drink it yer," said Mrs. Best. 
"You know he's upstairs." 



"Oh," they replied, "we don't mind, he said we were 
nothing last night so we are nothing." 

Mark Best was sitting in the corner of the house 
apparently afraid to speak. Hudson was out and I 
was upstairs alone. I thought perhaps they might take 
things in their own hands and come upstairs to attack 
me. I did not suppose I could handle four men, never- 
theless, I had a mind to go downstairs and take what- 
ever might come. They made no attempt, however, to 
do any injury downstairs or to come up to me, so I 
thought it wise to keep clear of them while they 
were in their drunken and frantic condition. 

After grumbling for a few minutes in their rough, 
drunken manner about me and the sermon, they sang: 
"When the roll is called up yonder, I'll be there," and 
left the house. 

At 7.30 p.m. sharp, Hudson, the doctor and I arrived 
at the cook-house, where we expected to find a large 
congregation assembled to enjoy the feast we had in 
store for them. But to our surprise and chagrin we 
found that a dance had been in progress there for some 
time and the young women whom Hudson and the 
doctor had spent so much time in training for the enter- 
tainment were linked arm in arm with the half-drunken 
men, racing over the building in a crude dance. Evi- 
dently these fellows were determined to get equal with 




It was discouraging, to say the least of it, and it 
looked as if we were defeated. But God's work does 
not hang on the apparent success of a moment or a day 
or a year. This little persecution did not permanently 
affect the cause of Christ there. Right will always 
triumph in the end. To-day the Methodists have a 
strong cause at Mud Lake, and one of the men who 
allowed the intoxicants to be manufactured in his home 
has become a leading Christian in the place, while the 
other man is a strong sympathizer of our work, and is 
one of the best helpers, financially. I have not heard 
of any trouble akin to those related in this chapter 
arising there since. 

Nevertheless, I felt that my work there was done, as 
my duty called me elsewhere, and on January the 6th, 
I started on my last trip around the extensive mission. 




I shall, as far as possible, in this and the following 
chapter, take the reader into each home visited along 
the coast. With most of these homes he is already 
familiar, but no doubt he would like to know a little 
more about them and with the writer, for the present 
at least, to wish them good-bye. 

Sunday 8th January was spent at North- West River. 
I preached to a small congregation of half-breeds in the 
Company's house. I had preached quite frequently in 
this little settlement, and now, as I was looking into the 
faces of my swarthy congregation for the last time, I 
wondered how much they had benefitted by my preach- 
ing and ministrations. Had I perf 01 med my duty faith- 
fully? Above all, had I done my best to point them to 
Christ? These are heart-searching questions to a 
preacher when he is leaving a people for the last time. 
I should not like to attempt an answer to those questions. 
God alone is the Judge and Rewarder of our feeble 
efforts. Monday morning I bade them farewell and pro- 
ceeded to the home of Fred Rich. Fred was to take 

me to Ticker aluk. 



Perhaps the reader has been wondering how Willie 
Ikie and Christiana were getting along in their married 
life. I met them both at Fred Rich's, where they 
were staying. It was nearly twelve months now 
since they were united in wedlock, and their childish 
but affectionate attentions to each other had not waned. 
Christiana took her place by Willie's side, employing 
herself caressing his hair, while Willie did not forget to 
give her repeated glances of smiling consent. It was 
evident that Willie thought there was no one in the 
world like Christiana and Christiana thought the same 
of Willie. With this common confidence in each other, 
notwithstanding the many deficiencies apparent to 
others, they were happy. 

The following night was spent at Moore's Cove with 
Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Baikie and family. Skipper 
Thomas was an old Scotchman about seventy years of 
age, who came to Labrador as a servant of the Hudson's 
Bay Company nearly fifty years before, when Lord 
Strathcona, then Donald Smith, had charge of the posts 
in Hamilton Inlet. After spending nine years in the 
Company's service he married a native, settled down in 
Labrador and lived the life of a trapper. His hunting- 
ground was in the interior from the head of Grand Lake. 
There in that desolate country near the place where the 
late Leonidas Hubbard lost his life, he spent many a 
long winter, generally alone. That kind of life entails 



many hardships and is fraught with many dangers. 
The old man could tell many stories of hardships, hair-, 
breadth escapes, etc. Among others he related to me 
the following: 

"One winter," he said, "while furring alone twenty 
miles in from the head of Grand Lake, as I was cutting 
down a tree for fire- wood for my camp, it got caught 
up in another tree and to get it down I had to cut down 
the tree in which it was caught. I was in a hurry for it 
was late in the evening, and not noticing the tree, it 
fell before I knew it right on my back and knocked me 
down. For a while I couldn't get up. After a hard 
struggle I crawled to the tilt, got in the bunk and there 
I lay for nine days without ever being able to get up, 
and all I had to eat was a little hard tack. I was there 
in the tilt twenty-one days and could not walk home. 
The family was expecting me out before, so after the 
time was long past they came to look for me and got 
me out." 

Perhaps the story was exaggerated but there can be 
no doubt that the old man had some very trying ex- 
periences and narrow escapes, during his many winters 
hunting in the wilds of Labrador. As a result of the 
hardships endured during these long years of toil in the 
forest, the old man was a great sufferer from cramps 
and rheumatic pains. After having service I retired 
to my sleeping-bag only to be awakened at 12 o'clock 



by the rattling of the stove. Opening my eyes, I saw 
the form of a man trying to get a fire in the large double 

"What is the matter?" I said, "it is not daylight, is 

"No, but those cramps in my hand will not let me 
sleep," he replied, at the same time showing me his 
hands. Their drawn condition told me only too well 
the agony the old gentleman was enduring. The heat 
soon eased his pain and he again retired. 

At 3 o'clock I saw the old, weather-beaten form again 
at the stove. This time his wife began to find fault 
because he was making it too warm for them upstairs. 

"If they had the cramps like me," he said, "they 
would like it warm too." His hard life was now telling 
on him, and no doubt he spent many nights similar to 
the one I have described. What had he received for all 
his hard toil? He had killed a large number of fur- 
bearing animals in his time, and bartered the furs at 
the Hudson's Bay Company's store helping to fill 
their treasury, while Baikie himself was left with little 
to remind him of his hard toil excepting his cramps and 
rheumatic pains. 

The women in the morning ere we parted gave me 
some curios worked by their own hands in kind recogni- 
tion of the help they had received from the humble 
efforts of the missionary. 



A few hours brought us to Mrs. Daniel Campbell's 
at Muligan. The old lady appeared very sad and was 
inclined to talk only of her own troubles. 

"Ah," she said, "I shall never see you again." 

"No, I do not suppose you will." 

"I know I shall not live much longer and oh, I wish 
I could have a minister visit me on my death-bed." 

I talked with her all the afternoon. I knew it was 
my last chat with the old lady who had been so kind 
and motherly to me on that bleak shore. What could I 
say to comfort this aged soul, looking into the face of 
death as she was? How awkward and almost helpless 
one often feels on such occasions! 

As I was leaving the next morning she accompanied 
me a few yards from the door, her feeble step telling 
plainly that her end was near. She held me by the 
hand for a considerable length of time, being reluctant 
to let me go. She would not see another missionary till 
July and she might die before then. "I might be lying 
over there," she said, pointing to the place where her 
husband lay, with whom she had lived happily for 
fifty-four years. Her prophecy proved true for ere the 
month of April passed her body was laid in the "cold 
and silent grave" and her spirit had gone to God. 

A drive of four miles brought us to Pearl River where, 
as the reader will remember, live two Chaulk families. 
Mrs. Andrew, a young married woman, was very ill 



and in my judgment was a victim of tuberculosis. 
Medical aid was out of the question. I promised to send 
her a little nourishment from Rigolet, which I knew she 
needed badly. I do not suppose she ever recovered. I 
talked and prayed with her and she was cheered and 
consoled. It was indeed a real pleasure to me to be able 
to comfort this poor invalid in the dark wilds of Lab- 
rador. Her face lit up with a spiritual light and her 
trust was firm in God. 

We had a long drive of forty miles before us the next 
day. Robert Baikie had left the Lowland and the 
nearest house was Will Shephard's at Valley's Bight. 
The first ice that made in the fall had broken up in a 
terrific gale of wind, which drove the great sheets over 
each other thus making it very rough for komatik work. 
There was little snow on the ice, and the whole bay 
was full of hummocks, some of them standing five and 
six feet high making the steering of the komatik between 
them a difficult task. The dogs were going at full 
speed and it was useless to call out "steady" as the 
going was good excepting for the hummocks. Once the 
komatik capsized, but there were no broken legs. The 
jerking and jumping of the komatik over the hummocks 
made the dogs go all the faster. To make matters 
worse the dogs scented a seal on the ice in the distance, 
and becoming entirely unmanageable were off at once 
at full gallop. They took complete charge of the 




komatik and it was a miracle that we escaped without 
broken legs or cracked heads. 

"What's the matter with the dogs, Fred, can't you 
stop them?" 

"They smells a swile, sir." 

"They must have great smellers," I replied, "for I 
cannot smell or see a seal anywhere." 

It was the roughest ride and the greatest shaking I 
had ever experienced and it was a good thing our hearts 
were sound. After the wild gallop of a couple of miles 
I made out a black speck on the ice ahead of us, and in 
a minute or two more the six wolf-dogs had their long 
teeth stuck into a large bedlamer seal. 

This seal was called by the natives a "traveller," and 
it had travelled for sixty miles or more over the ice, 
twenty or thirty miles farther would have taken it to 
open water in the "narrows." These seals travel very 
slowly and must live entirely on ice and snow. It had 
probably taken over a month to travel that distance 
and it seemed a pity to kill it now it was so near its 
goal. A crack or two from Fred's whip ended its life 
and we lashed it on the komatik and took it to the home 
of Will Shephard, an industrious and well-to-do trap- 
per. The host was away from home attending his fur- 
traps so we spent the night with Mrs. Shephard and her 
two children. 

Saturday found us with Widow Chaulk at Trout Cove. 
Her husband had died the previous year and she was 



living with Sandy, her step-son, who too had been 
married, but whose wife had died some years before. 
This family was in such poverty that Mrs. Chaulk told 
me that she had not tasted even a bit of butter since 
the previous spring. 

"Ah, yes, Mr. Young," she said, "I often feels like 
sitting down to a nice cup of tea, but when I remember 
we have no butter or sugar my stomach won't take it 
and I goes without it." 

It could be seen she was literally dying of starvation. 

Sandy at the time of my visit, notwithstanding his 
extreme poverty, was at Back Bay paying a visit to his 
young lady, whom he intended to marry when I made 
my yearly call. Unfortunately or fortunately he did 
not know I would be along so soon. He sent for me 
after I arrived at Tickeraluk, but I could not return 
and he had to postpone his wedding till the following 
July, when my successor arrived on the coast. 

When leaving on Monday morning I gave Mrs. 
Chaulk the little butter I had for my journey, knowing 
that I could get more that day at Rigolet. But whether 
I did or not she must have the butter for she needed it 
worse than I did. 

On our way to Rigolet we called at Carawalla, the 
home of several Eskimo families. After having prayer 
in one of the homes and baptizing a baby we proceeded 
to Rigolet, arriving at 4 p.m. 



Mr. Fraser, the agent, was away at Cartwright, but 
I received a hearty welcome from the two clerks, Par- 
sons and Carson. We had a nice little service there 
that night. Mr. Carson had been a member of a choir 
in Montreal for several years, and his splendid singing 
gave a brightness to the service. 

The next morning I bought some nourishment for 
Mrs. Andrew Chaulk, which Fred was to take to her, 
and proceeded to Ticker aluk. 




I arranged with Jerry Flowers to take me as far as 
Ratler's Bight and back. The people all along this sec- 
tion were, and I suppose are now, in poverty. The going 
was excellent and after a rapid ride of fifteen miles the 
dogs made a sudden stop before the open door of Arthur 
Rich's hut. 

Arthur was then an old man; he had been married 
three times and his little cabin was now nearly full of 
small and helpless children, the children of his third and 
young wife. They were all too young to work, and 
only for Edwin Oliver, an adopted son, it was diffi- 
cult to see how the family could escape utter starva- 
tion. Edwin was a loyal and faithful boy and stood by 
his foster father. 

A few miles farther brought us to Bluff Head, where 
we were welcomed by the two Oliver families, Job and 
John. Both had large families and both were in ex- 
treme poverty. Mrs. Job was very ill, the house was 
cold, warm clothing was scarce, the children were 
almost naked, and altogether the prospect was dark, 

gloomy and dismal. 



Bluff Head is a cold and rugged headland, washed by 
the ever-rolling seas of the Atlantic. Passing around 
the head you run into a little cove where the two families 
live in little log-cabins. The unsheltered place is con- 
tinually swept by more or less blinding snowstorms. 
As I looked into the haggard faces of that poor, sick 
woman and the half-clad and more than half-starving chil- 
dren, I thought what a miserable existence these people 
have to endure. What is more heartrending than the 
wail of half-starving children, crying for bread and no 
bread to give them! The men, hoping to enrich their 
scanty larder, spent most of their time around the head- 
lands in search of gulls that perchance might fly that 
way. Their search was too often fruitless. 

After praying with the families and giving what words 
of comfort, consolation and advice we could, we left in 
the beginning of a snowstorm for Charles Allen's, 
Ratler's Bight, where we arrived an hour later, before 
the storm had reached its height. 

Charles Allen was better off than any other man on 
my mission, north of Tickeraluk. His fish- trap brought 
him in a fairly good harvest every year, and this saved 
him from that poverty-stricken condition the common 
lot of his neighbours. 

Joseph Lloyd, Charles' brother-in-law, who had lost 
his wife a few months previously, was living with him. 
This gave me the privilege of conversing with the only 



two remaining Englishmen in Hamilton Inlet, a priv- 
ilege which I appreciated very much as the conversa- 
tion took my mind away from the ice-bound coast and 
rugged headlands of Labrador. 

The storm lasted nearly three days, during which 
time one dare not trust himself fifty yards from the 
house. On the second day some members of the family 
were suddenly taken ill with headache and vomiting, 
followed by a slight delirium tremens. 

The next day nearly all the remaining members of the 
family were taken down, among whom was Charles 
himself. Charles was rather nervous and his groans, 
made - worse by the raging storm without, cast 
a gloom over the whole house. Once he sprang 
suddenly to his feet, holding his head tightly with his 
hands and walking the floor like a man half-crazed, 
exclaimed: "I have a machine up in my head and I 
am sure it is going to break down." 

On our return trip to Tickeraluk we were to visit those 
families who had settled inland about a couple of miles, 
as we had visited those by the sea-shore on our out- 
ward trip. The storm abated a little in the afternoon, 
so I decided to make a start for Tom Oliver's, whose 
home was four miles distant. 

The storm, which had slackened a great deal, was still 
almost blinding, and as we shot out from the trees on the 
bight I could not see how Jerry was going to find the 



hut ; he thought, however, he could do it, so I consented 
to let him try ; in a few minutes the eager dogs were at 
Oliver's door. 

I find in my diary the following entry concerning Tom 
Oliver and his condition at this time: 

"Tom Oliver is in a poor condition. He has only a 
half-barrel of flour and a little tea, no butter, no mo- 
lasses and no prospect of getting even a little flour 
when that is done, unless someone should take pity on 
him. Few, however, are in a position to help, as most 
of the people find it as much as they can do to provide 
for themselves and families. 

"Mr. Oliver was denied everything at Rigolet on the 
ground that he did not take the work offered him. He 
said he was not able to do the work required, which 
was to build a flat-bottomed boat. He is ill and not 
able to work hard, and who can do so on dry bread and 
raw tea? Let those who mourn with plenty learn a lesson 
here. May the Lord send them some help is my prayer. 
Mrs. Oliver is a native of Newfoundland and is to be 
pitied as no doubt she has seen better days." 

The condition of this family was certainly a sad one. 
Were they placed in a settled community and surrounded 
by friends their case would not call for more sympathy 
than thousands of others. But placed as they were on 
the isolated and inhospitable coast of Labrador, with 
their next door neighbours miles away, most of them 



too poor to lend assistance and with no relief from the 
agent at Rigolet (the only store within a hundred miles), 
surely their sad condition would touch the heart of any 
humane person. 

Having no food with me on this trip I had to share 
the fate of these poor people. When one considered 
that this was only January and that they had a long 
winter yet before them, it seemed to me that life 
for them was a misfortune and to be relieved from 
it would be a great blessing. It was a desperate strug- 
gle for existence. Practically all the comforts derived 
from material things, medical aid and social surround- 
ings were denied them. 

As I write, Oliver's little log-hut nestled among the 
trees in Labrador looms up before me and I see again 
the father and mother almost too weak to stand, with 
their two children, sitting around their rustic table try- 
ing to satisfy their appetites on a bit of dry bread. 

It was a most beautiful night and no trace of the 
storm could be seen, the sky was clear, the moon was 
shining brightly in the heavens and all the snow that 
had fallen the last few days had disappeared among 
the trees. 

Widow Newell's hut was just a mile across the pond, 

so taking one of Tom's children I decided to visit her 

that night. It was 8 o'clock when I knocked at her 

door. She was half-afraid to answer the knock as 

L 161 


visitors were so unusual. As she opened the door the 
moon shone upon her dirty face. 

"Is dat you, Mr. Young, wer ded you come from dis 
hour of the night? Come in." 

What a hovel they were living in! The hut was 
almost as dark as a dungeon ; there were only two panes 
of glass to let in the moonlight. The hut was cold, 
dirty and smoky. The smoke from the cod-oil lamp 
had tanned everything even, Selina's face, and soap, 
like every other commodity, was very scarce. The 
roof of the hut was covered with boughs, rinds and 
sods; the cold, piercing wind came in through all parts 
of the building and what it means to live and sleep in 
such a hut situated in the cold north can only be 

A "stage lamp" in which were a few spoonfuls of 
cod-oil was the only light they had. The wick was too 
short to reach the oil, and Selina sat by the table shak- 
ing the lamp and hooking up the wick so that her son 
vSteve and John White might see to finish their scanty 
meal. I could just make out the two black objects 
sitting at the table. Steve said to me: 

"Well ya come and 'ave some supper, Mr. Young?" 
I was glad to be able to answer him in the negative. 
The people of Labrador in spite of their poverty are 
extremely hospitable. 

Steve was at Rigolet a few days before my visit and 
got a half-barrel of flour and a few other absolutely 



necessary things, on the promise that he would chop 
twenty-five oars for the Company. Mrs. Newell's hus- 
band had passed away four years before and Steve, a 
young man of twenty, was the only support of a family 
of six. But in spite of the dirt, smoke, cold and poverty 
she seemed to be comparatively happy. Happiness is 
surely not entirely dependent on wealth and prosperity. 

As Selina trimmed the lamp I read and prayed with 
the family, after which I went out under the starry 
heavens never to see any of them again till we meet 
where there shall be no more poverty or pain and where 
every person shall get his due reward. 

John White is too interesting a character to dismiss 
with only a passing notice. John was now forty years of 
age and had never married. He lived for six months 
in the year, alone, in an old shanty at a place called, 
Double Brook, about six miles from Tickeraluk. Dur- 
ing the summer he caught salmon and trout which 
enabled him to purchase food enough to stand till 

When his little supply of food was gone he began his 
winter travels from Double Brook to Horse Harbour. 
He travelled very slowly, remaining at each hut as 
long as his conscience would allow him or until he saw 
that he was not wanted (but John was very slow to see 
that), then he would proceed to the next hut. In this 
way the trip was lengthened out sometimes to two 
w, 163 


months, which meant for John two months of free diet. 
He did not mind if a storm kept him at a hut a week 
or two over his allotted time as long as he could beg 
plenty of tobacco from his host. He was considered 
a little daft by the people on the coast, but was 
always cute enough to keep a plug of tobacco in the 
corner of his pocket while he put a small bit in his 
mouth, hoping to touch a sympathetic chord in his 
neighbour's heart and so add another plug to his stock. 

With him generally came a dog or two looking as 
famished as himself. Several times he got caught in 
those awful blizzards that so frequently sweep the 
coast in winter, and once or twice barely escaped 
with his life. 

One day Charles Allen and John had a most trying 
experience. They were caught in a blinding snowstorm 
on the unsheltered, barren headlands, only two miles 
from a neighbour's hut. They burrowed a hole in the 
snow for themselves and dogs with the aid of their 
sheath knives and snow-shoes, and there lay till the 
storm abated. Thus they passed the long and dreary 
night without freezing or suffering much from the cold. 

The next morning they crawled out of their "igloo" 
and attempted to reach the nearest hut. But after 
travelling a few yards they were forced to abandon the 
idea and not being able to return they had to burrow 
another hole in the snowbank to afford shelter for an- 
other night. 



The sheath-knife was lost and Charles now began 
cutting off the crust with his pocket-knife. He ordered 
John to begin digging; John, however, was too cold 
and exhausted to do anything and stood shivering while 
Charles did the work. He then threw John in and a 
couple of dogs with him and buried him up. It was a 
hard thing to bury a man alive, but that was the most 
merciful thing to do with him just then. It might be 
John's coffin and it might not, he thought. Charles 
then dug a hole for himself in which he remained till 
the following morning. At dawn he crawled out. By 
this time the wind had ceased and the sky had cleared 
beautifully. On looking around the only thing he saw 
was a dog's tail sticking up through the snow. Taking 
hold of the tail to pull the hungry dog out, as he thought, 
to his surprise he found only a tail, the dog had dis- 
appeared. Charles' hounds driven by starvation had 
killed John's during the night and eaten it, leaving 
nothing but the tail. 

After some digging Charles discovered John, who, 
after spending practically forty-eight hours buried in 
the snow, was still sleeping away as soundly and com- 
fortably as if his tired head were resting on a downy 
pillow. On being called he opened his eyes in amaze- 
ment as one awakened after an hour's slumber. 

Charles lifted him up but he was unable to stand; 
Charles made a dash for the hut and an hour later a 



team of Eskimo dogs stopped by the apparently lifeless 
body of John White. 

He was taken to the nearest hut and soon a warm fire 
and hot tea restored him. But the toes of one of his 
feet were so badly frost-bitten that their amputation 
was necessary. The nearest doctor was at Battle Har- 
bour, three hundred miles farther south, and the critical 
task of cutting off the frozen toes was accomplished by 
an inexperienced man, whose only surgical instrument 
was a razor. 

John suffered a great deal before his foot was well. 
However, he still continues his winter travels, and some- 
times with almost similar experiences. Not so many 
years ago he was caught again in one of those dreaded 
storms and after wandering for hours he lighted upon 
an old, uninhabited shack that was full of snow and 
ice, where he lay and slept till the storm abated. As a 
consequence he contracted a cold which came very 
nearly costing him his life. The people on the coast say 
he will end his days in one of those storms, which he 
does not seem to have the genius to avoid. 

I went back to Tickeraluk on January 26th, not much 
worse for the trip, but surely with a broader knowledge 
of the poverty-stricken people of Labrador, and with a 
deeper sympathy for the unfortunates of mankind. 




On Monday, January 30th, we left Tickeraluk for 
Paradise. After spending some time at William Mug- 
ford's we went as far as Flatwaters, calling in at Tinker 
Harbour on the way. The people on this side of the bay 
were as poverty-stricken as those on the north side, 
but a detailed description here is unnecessary. I^et us, 
however, in passing, look into the home of Mrs. Thomas 
Pottle at Plant's Bight. The hut was built by 
the side of a hill. After sliding down over the bank I 
had to stoop considerably to get through the low door. 
Mrs. Pottle was sitting at the table, but owing to the 
smoke in the hut and the effect of the sun upon my 
eyes, I could scarcely make her out at first. In a few 
moments I saw the old lady's wondering eyes looking 
up into mine. I told her who I was and she offered me 
a box on which to sit and rest. 

The roof of the hut was made of rinds and the snow 
had weighed it down about two feet. It looked as if it 
might fall any moment. A rug which constituted their 
entire stock of bed-clothes was hanging on a line behind 



the stove. There was not a bed of any kind in the 
one-roomed cabin. It was always a puzzle to me how 
these poor people escape from perishing during the long, 
cold, winter nights. All she had to offer us to eat was 
a bit of bread, but her son had gone to Cartwright which 
was thirty miles distant to get a pound of tea. No 
doubt Mr. Swaffield gave it to him. 

What these people need is someone to teach them 
how to help themselves and to arouse in them a spirit 
of self-respect and independence. Dr. Grenfell has 
done excellent work along this line for the people on 
the north coast of Newfoundland and Southern Labra- 
dor, but little has been done to bring the people of 
Hamilton Inlet and Sandwich Bay out of the "old rut." 

Thursday we arrived at Cape Porcupine in a snow- 
storm. As usual I held a little service. Jerry decided 
to go back and I engaged George Davis to take me to 
Paradise. Despite the heavy fall of snow we reached 
Cartwright Friday afternoon and Saturday morning we 
started for Paradise, hoping to reach it that night. 
But owing to the heavy fall of snow we made slow pro- 
gress and just at dusk we found ourselves still seven 
miles from Paradise and too tired to proceed farther. 
Arriving at Red Island we spent Sunday with the two 
Church of England families of this little settlement. 

We found a poor sufferer at this place with her joints 
all thrown out of place with rheumatism. She had been 
a terrible sufferer for many years. It was a sad sight 



to see this poor woman with no means of relief within 
reach. I often wished I had the skill of a physician 
when coming in contact with sickness and suffering. 
Perhaps there was no cure for this woman, but what we 
need in Labrador is a medical missionary. Such a man 
could prevent and alleviate a great deal of the suffering. 
The people on our extensive mission are out of the reach 
of the Deep Sea Mission doctor, and most of them sel- 
dom if ever see a medical man. 

I gave the people two services on Sunday. They 
were visited once or twice a year by the Anglican mis- 
sionary at Battle Harbour. Monday at noon -we 
arrived at Paradise and received a hearty welcome from 
the generous people of that place. 

I remained at Paradise two months, preaching twice 
on Sundays and holding two week-night meetings each 
week. A deep interest was taken in those meetings and 
great good done. Soon we began to have conversions 
and several more of the people of this place were brought 
into the conscious assurance of their acceptance with 

It was at this time that my appetite almost failed me. 
After nearly two years my stomach stubbornly rebelled 
against the Labrador diet and but for the fact that I 
secured twenty-two pounds of venison from Charlie 
Pardy, a young man of the place, who was fortunate 
enough to kill a caribou, I am afraid I should have 
nearly starved. Scurvy, too, troubled me somewhat. 



Rev. Mr. Gardiner, Anglican clergyman of Battle 
Harbour, visited Paradise at this time. He spent many 
years on the coast and was a faithful and conscientious 
worker. Like a true hero, unnoticed by the world, he 
wore himself out in the service of the Master among 
the needy people on the isolated coast of Labrador- 
Some years after this, owing to failing health, he was 
forced to leave. 

The Doctor to the Deep Sea Mission stationed at 
Battle Harbour also visited Paradise late in March. 
The people thought that they were highly favored, 
having received a visit from a clergyman and a doctor 
all in one month. 

I had made up my mind to travel along the coast as 
far as Red Bay, a distance of two hundred and fifty 
miles, and take the mail-steamer there in May for New- 

I arranged with Charles Davis, of Goose Cove, to 
drive me there and to start on the first of April. 
On the preceding day Davis arrived at Paradise with 
the discouraging news that his dogs were taken down 
with some strange sickness and consequently he could 
not take me on my journey. I resolved, however, to 
go with him as far as his home at Goose Cove and work 
my way along the coast the best way I could. 

That night I preached my farewell sermon at Paradise 
and next morning I started on my long, homeward 




On my way to Cartwright, James Davis, who accom- 
panied us there, promised to take me as far as Seal Is- 
lands, half the distance to Battle Harbour, and so we 
arranged for him to meet me at Goose Cove within two 
or three days. We had a little service at Cartwright 
that night and the next day proceeded to Goose Cove. 
I was not there long before I heard the howling of 
Eskimo dogs outside which indicated that a new team 
of dogs had arrived. On opening the door my friend 
James walked in and informed me that he could not 
fulfil his promise as his wife was not feeling well. 
"So," he said, "I must now get back again to my 
little family." 

This was very disappointing but I determined to 
continue on my journey to Red Bay. To walk was out 
of the question; for I had to take with me my sleeping- 
bag, some good clothes to wear at Red Bay and St. 
John's, and also my second year's course of books, as I 
had to write my papers in the city. I hoped to have a 
month's study at Red Bay. 



The following day Charles Davis drove me as far as 
Otter Brook and the next day John Davis put me along 
to Sand Hill. This was the most southern end of 
Hamilton Inlet Mission, while south of this was Church 
of England territory. I did not know the people along 
the coast as I had never visited south of Sand Hill. 
But I felt sure Mr. Gardiner's people would not see me 

At Sand Hill all the men were away. I said to the 
woman of the house, "Is there no way for me to get 

"There is a young man yer, " she replied, "from 
Salmon Point, and he is just going back." 

I embraced the opportunity and went on with the 
boy. For fifteen miles we travelled at a rapid pace. 
The dogs were in good condition and though it looked 
as if a blizzard would soon sweep along the barren hills 
over which we were travelling we hoped to reach Salmon 
Point before it intercepted us. This was my birthday 
and my mind reverted to the experience of the previous 
birthday in Labrador, recorded in another chapter. 
Within two or three miles of the little settlement the 
storm broke upon us. But thanks to my guide and a 
kind Providence we reached safety before the storm had 
reached its height. 

I went to the home of Mr. George Parr and found him 
in a very sad condition. His wife had died four years 


(a) Ready for our trip by Komatik and Dog- train. 

(b) A Typical Eskimo Dog. This Dog having Killed a Child was Destroyed. 

(c) A Stack of Wood, the only Fuel Available in Labrador. 


previously, and his only daughter was now lying dead 
in the house. The raging of the storm without only 
added to the gloom and sadness of the occasion. I tried 
to cheer the heart of the sorrowing father, who was glad 
that I had come. He was now left alone on the rugged 
coast without wife or daughter and he naturally felt 
it very keenly. The following day, Sunday, as the 
storm had in part spent itself, we laid to rest the body of 
the young woman. 

On Monday a young man from Salmon Point drove 
me to Seal Islands, and next day a young man from the 
latter place drove me another twenty-five miles, which 
brought me as far as Venison Tickle. Thus I was getting 
along the coast quite nicely, and without much difficulty. 
The people were very kind and obliging. 

At Venison Tickle I found an old Englishman, who 
had spent forty years in Labrador, dying with cancer in 
the throat. It was a real privilege to give the dying 
man a word of comfort and he was glad to see a preacher, 
though I did not belong to his church. In the face of 
death we are not particular about the name of the church ; 
as long as the soul is blessed, what does it matter who 
brings the message? 

The next day James Green, a young man, drove me 
to Sung Harbour where only two families resided. The 
dogs around the doors of the houses were numerous, 
however, and I suspected that I would have no trouble 
in getting to the next harbour. 



I told one of the men who I was, but all the men de- 
clined to have anything to do with me. They would 
not ask me into their houses and absolutely refused to 
take me to the next settlement. I could not under- 
stand it for I had never received any treatment like 
that during my whole term on the coast. The people 
of Labrador are very respectful to all clergymen. Green 
would not go any further with me, and if I left all my 
stuff I could not find my way along alone. 

It was twenty miles to William's Harbour and I 
tried my best to prevail on one of the men to take me 
there; I exhausted all my ingenuity and failed. I was 
stranded on an inhospitable coast. What could I do? 

"Well, now," I said to one man, coaxingly, "for what 
will you take me to William's Harbour?" I was willing 
to pay almost anything in reason. 

"Well, der, " he replied, "give me a hundred dollars, 
and I'll tek yah." 

The poor missionary could not pay that amount and 
I saw it was useless to try to persuade them any longer 
and I gave up in despair. There I was upon the bank 
yonder as helpless and as cornered as ever I had been 
in my life. Would not the kind Lord touch their hard 

Looking around I saw an old man approaching me. 
He was walking fast and looked very excited. I won- 
dered what it meant. Was he going to drive me off 
his premises? Stepping up by me, he said: 



"You is the min'ter from Hamilton Inlet, is yah?" 

"Yes," I replied. 

"Well, well. I am sarry; I t'ought you was a run- 
away from the mell in Hamilton Inlet. Two are free 
o' dem passed yer th' edder day, and I t'ought you was 
anudder of dem. Come in th' 'ouse and stay tonight, 
and you '11 git on to William's Harbour to mar, and it 
won't cos' yah a cent ider. 

As these words left the old man's lips a great burden 
rolled from my heart, and I do not think I ever felt 
lighter hearted. The family now could not show me 
enough kindness and I admired them for the respect 
they had for a preacher of the gospel. 

But my troubles were not all over; if the people were 
reconciled to me the dogs were not. As I entered 
the porch one of the great wolf-hounds began to show 
his teeth and snarl. Being accustomed to dogs I did 
not mind it much, but I ventured too near and he flew 
at me, and in a moment the whole savage pack was after 
me. I ran towards the other house and met the team 
from there. I gave a loud screech which brought all the 
folk there to my rescue and prevented the mad dogs 
from biting. I knew if they once got the taste of blood 
they would not stop till there was nothing left of me but 
bones. The woman living in the house to which I 
was running said to me after it was all over and the dogs 
had slunk away: "Our dogs was not goin' to hurt yah, 
sir; they was only goin' to tek yer part." 



Yes, I thought, they meant to take my part, and a 
big part. You can never trust Eskimo dogs, even though 
you may be well used to them. Once they get the taste 
of blood there is no getting them away by stick, stone 
or whip. 

I gave a sigh of relief the next morning when I felt 
myself being carried along -at a rapid pace toward 
William's Harbour. Two teams were sent, one with 
myself and another with my stuff, and Mr. Ward would 
not charge me a cent for it. He was accustomed to take 
his own clergyman around for nothing. It is hard to 
forget kindness of that kind. Indeed it remains with 
one as a pleasant memory. 

We arrived at William's Harbour a little before dusk. 
The following day Good Friday Thomas Russell and 
William Burton drove me on the komatik to Deep Water 
Creek, a small place seven miles from Battle Harbour. 
Here I again met Mr. Gardiner, who had not yet got 
back to his headquarters. 

We had a splendid little service that night at the 
Creek, and the next day being Sunday, Mr. Gardiner 
and I divided the services between the small places 
near by. Monday I crossed to Battle Harbour with 
him in a boat manned by a large crew of hearty fisher- 

vStill fifty miles lay between me and Red Bay. After 
several days' wait an opportunity of getting along came 



and a hard day's row against a heavy wind with a 
crowd of brave young fellows brought me to Henley 

Early the following morning, 29th of April, we started 
on komatik for Red Bay. We were now getting up in 
the Straits, and just across the way there loomed up 
before me the island of Newfoundland. It was not 
quite two years, it was true, since I saw it last, but never- 
theless I felt something swelling up in my throat. 
"Breathes there a man, with soul so dead, 
Who never to himself hath said: 
This is my own, my native land. 
Whose heart hath ne'er within him burned, 
As home his footsteps he hath turned, 
From wandering on a foreign strand!" 
At dusk we shot down over the hill and into the 
basin of the comfortable little settlement of Red Bay, 
and I alighted from the komatik, feeling rather sorry 
that my journeyings on the coast were over. 




At Red Bay there is a strong Methodist cause, and Mr. 
Grimes, who was then stationed there, and I were the 
only two Methodist missionaries on the extensive 
Labrador coast. Our stations were four hundred 
miles apart, and it was impossible to do anything like 
satisfactory work among the scattered people along a 
coast of about seven hundred miles. 

Mr. Grimes was away on another part of his mission* 
and it was several days before he returned. How glad 
we were to meet each other ! It was late when we retired 
that night. We both felt the truth of the wise man's 
words: "Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth 
the countenance of his friend." 

I had met, and just for a few minutes, during the two 
years on the coast, only two Methodist ministers one 
from the States, and the other the late Dr. Withrow of 
Toronto, who were making a round trip on the mail- 

Mr. Grimes and I spent a happy time together. The 
mail-steamer was late in coming that year, and I had 



<ix weeks of uninterrupted study. On the llth of June 
the mail -steamer arrived at Red Bay, and with some 
feelings of regret, I bade farewell to the rugged coast. 

Two solitary Methodist missionaries and two Angli- 
can missionaries are still labouring on the extensive 
coast, striving to bring the simple message of the Gospel 
of Christ to the hearts of the simple and needy folk 
there. Let us breathe an occasional prayer that the 
blessing of God may rest upon them, their people and 
their work. 

" It is the way the Master went ; 
Should not the servant tread it still?" 


University of Toreifo 








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